Manmohan Singh hits out at PM Modi on his home turf

Manmohan Singh hits out at PM Modi on his home turf

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday was at his aggressive best against his successor Prime Minister Narendra Modi in latter's home state Gujarat.

The former prime minister hit out at Modi on multiple fronts - demonetisation, GST, state of the economy, agriculture, politics and even Narmada project - claiming that it is unlikely Modi government would achieve its targets on economic growth.

"My anguish is at remark Modiji makes that nothing was done in 70 years. Does he really mean that? The Life expectancy at independence was at 31 years. Today it is 71 years; Literacy was 18, today it is 76%; We relied on American food but today we are not only food sufficient but exporting; From a slow-growing economy, we are one of the fastest growing economies...I wish PM finds more dignified way to convince people for votes without denigrating the country," former PM said while speaking to mediapersons.

He described demonetisation an "ill-thought out action", reiterating what he said in the Rajya Sabha about demonetisation - an "organised loot and legalised plunder."

Earlier in the day, in an interaction with a group of traders in Ahmadabad, Singh said demonetisation was a black day for India's economy and democracy. "Nowhere in the world any democracy has taken such a coercive step." He said that it had only helped China as its exports into India surged this year by Rs 45,000 crore to reach Rs 2.41 lakh crore.

Singh said that GST, as implemented by Modi government, was a departure from their vision. "The problem is not just about multiple rates but there are loopholes," he said adding that during his tenure as PM, his government had a well-designed GST but "Modiji opposed it."

Singh hit out at Modi's statements that Congress hated Gujaratis. "I was surprised when PM said that Congress hated Gujaratis. If there is a gross distortion then it needs to be rebut," he said invoking names of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and even former prime minister Morarji Desai to suggest that they were all Congressmen and always received their due respect from the party.

Singh criticised Modi's pet project - Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train corridor - by calling it "an exercise in vanity." He asked whether the prime minister had considered an alternative to the high-speed train by upgrading existing broad gauge railways network.

On being asked whether he thought that Rahul Gandhi was capable to lead Congress, Singh said: "Rahul Gandhi is a young leader of our party and I am convinced that he would prove to be a competent and a dynamic leader."

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