Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday released the Punjab Congress Manifesto for the upcoming polls. While addressing the media, Singh slammed the Akali-BJP combine government for the ‘mismanagement’ causing economic ruins in the state.
He said, “Punjab is a state with tremendous unexploited potential. This potential has not been exploited because of mismanagement. Earlier also Punjab was a victim of terrorism. And it has inflicted great deal of damage on the economy and polity of Punjab.”
Dr Singh said that the challenge before Punjab was to rise ‘above all this din and recognize that the people of Punjab need a better tomorrow.’
He added, “This Election Manifesto is a forward looking visionary doc., which promises the people that we will undo the damage done to the Punjab economy by the state government in the last ten years. It points to tremendous potential of the state in terms of Agriculture, Manufacturing, Services, Infrastructure, Social Services, in all these areas the present set up has not been able to make adequate use of the potential that exists in Punjab.”
Singh said that leadership Captain Amarinder Singh was ‘badly needed at this time because in him we have a leader of great vision.’
On demonetisation, Singh said that it will have a “very significant adverse effect” on the country’s GDP and will be an issue in the upcoming assembly elections in five states.
“You will see there will be a very significant adverse effect on the country’s GDP,” Singh said.
Recalling his statement in Parliament that demonetisation will have a very adverse impact on the GDP of the country, Singh said subsequent developments have proved him right.
In this context, he referred to the recent projection by the National Income Unit of the Central Statistical Organisation that the GDP in 2016-17 will slow down to 7.1 per cent from 7.6 per cent a year earlier.
This, he said, had not accounted for demonetisation, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an unusual address to the nation on the night of November 8.
Asked whether elections would be fought on the issue of demonetisation, he said, “It will be an issue in the assembly elections in five states.”
Manmohan Singh has been highly critical of demonetisation decision and has predicted a 2 per cent drop in the country’s GDP due to it.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha during a debate on the issue, Singh had castigated the government and the Prime Minister over the note ban, saying its implementation was a “monumental management failure” and a case of “organised loot and legalised plunder.”
Singh, who spoke in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha, said the decision will result in decline of GDP by 2 per cent, it being an “under-estimate”.
“These measures convinced me that the way the scheme has been implemented, it’s a monumental management failure. And in fact, it is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder,” he had said.
Punjab goes to polls on 4 February with Congress and Aam Aadmi Party contesting to form the government in the state.