The Shiv Sena advised the central government on Wednesday to take former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s advice on the economy seriously. The party which is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, also claimed that the economy has been destroyed in the last few years.
“The reports about the Indian economy are worrying,” the Shiv Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana. “Dr Manmohan Singh spoke about the economic slowdown and the difficult times that lie ahead in the future. One has to trust Manmohan Singh when he says that the economy is in doldrums and will collapse in future.”
Singh had on September 1 said that “all-round mismanagement” by the Narendra Modi-led government was responsible for the slowdown in the economy. He urged the government to “put aside vendetta politics” and consult “all sane voices and thinking minds” to save the economy.
Data released on August 30 showed that India’s economic growth rate had slipped to 5% in the April-June quarter, the lowest in over six years. This signals India is in the midst of a prolonged slowdown, Singh had said, adding that the country has the potential to grow at a much faster rate. He said the slowdown was a “man-made crisis”.
The Shiv Sena said that it trusts Prime Minister Narendra Modi on “teaching a lesson” to Pakistan and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pledge to recover Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. However, the party added that the economy is just as major a problem as Pakistan is.
The party said Singh had predicted the dismal state of the Indian economy four years ago. “However, Manmohan Singh was then mocked for his views,” the Shiv Sena added. “However, we have no hesitation in saying that Singh in an expert on economics.”
“The country has paid for the wrong decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government,” the party said. “Singh has said that decisions like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax were responsible for the slowdown in the economy. The country’s growth rate has slipped, production has declined and many people have lost their jobs.”
The party also criticised Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for claiming that all was well with the economy and that there was no slowdown. The Shiv Sena said that instead of correcting its policies, the government is mocking those who say that wrong economic decisions have been taken in the past.
The Shiv Sena pointed out that even Union minister Nitin Gadkari has criticised the handling of the Indian economy. “The note ban and GST are examples of this destruction,” the editorial said. The party wondered whether the government will use guns against those protesting for food, like it does against separatists in Kashmir.
“A learned person like Manmohan Singh said there should be no politics around the economic slowdown and experts should be roped in to repair the economy,” the editorial said. “National interest lies in listening to Manmohan Singh’s advice.”