Question NDA regime in polls, PC tells state's voters

Question NDA regime in polls, PC tells state's voters

Says freedom, liberty under threat, job creation crippled

Question NDA regime in polls, PC tells state's voters

Former union finance minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said people of Karnataka should "speak out" against the policies being adopted by the NDA regime, including "curtailing of freedom and liberty," in the forthcoming Assembly polls.

Speaking at the launch of his book 'Speaking truth to power - my alternate view' here, Chidambaram said people had asked "hard questions" in the Gujarat polls bringing the tally of the BJP from a one-time high of 150 plus seats to 99. "According to an analysis, if the Congress had secured more votes in just 12 more polling booths, we would have won six more seats and could have changed the tide in Gujarat," Chidambaram said.

He said the next opportunity to ask "hard questions" was in Karnataka. "Your liberty is be being attacked, freedom is being curtained. Think about it. The time has come to speak out and ask hard questions, otherwise you will not be able to find your voice when you require it the most," the Congress leader said.

Chidambaram said his lecture at a college in New Delhi was cancelled and also that of CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury for "political reasons". "My interview with a private TV channel was pulled out at the last minute. The freedom of the media is being curtailed. Editors are being sacked. I have been branded anti-national several times," he said.

In the talk and interaction coordinated by Congress MP Rajeev Gowda, Chidambaram said the Centre was also "systematically and insidiously" diminishing top institutions. "Appointment to top posts in institutions like Supreme Court and Reserve Bank of India have been kept pending for months," he said.

Chidambaram said lack of additional private investments in the small and medium businesses coupled with lack of industrial credit had severely crippled job creation.

The NDA government, before assuming office, promised two crore jobs a year. "Where are these jobs ? The ILO (International Labour Organisation) describes a proper job as employment that is certain, regular and reasonably secure. But this government added insult to injury of the youth by stating that pakora selling is a job," he said.

Replying to a query, Chidambaram said new project announcements had declined, informal sector was still reeling under the ill-effects of demonetisation, exports were plunging and manufacturing sector growth had slowed down.

To another query, Chidambaram, a former union home minister, said he was of the personal opinion that greater autonomy should be given to Kashmir. He also appreciated Karnataka government's efforts to give primacy to Kannada.