By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: June 8, 2020 3:22:05 pm
The COVID-19 pandemic and the distress it has unleashed has brought the Modi government full circle, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi said.
Taking note of Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi’s statement that the Narendra Modi government was compelled to “reluctantly rely” on the UPA government’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain on Monday said that the scheme proved to be effective only after the elimination of corrupt practices associated with it.
In an opinion piece for The Indian Express today, the senior Congress leader highlighted the benefits of the scheme and called it “a shining example of a radical and rational systemic change”.
“A government that sought to denigrate it, undermine it, has come to reluctantly rely on it. Along with the Public Distribution System put in place by an earlier Congress government, it is the mainstay for our poorest and most vulnerable citizens in preventing starvation and destitution wherever implemented in letter and spirit, especially in today’s COVID-19 crisis,” she wrote.
Reacting to the piece, Hussain said: “On the floor of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that his government would make use of the MNREGA scheme after all corrupt tactics for its implementation were removed. It started working successfully only after all corrupt practices were eliminated. There was a freedom to loot people during the Congress regime. It is us who are using the scheme efficiently for the benefit of the country.”
Gandhi had also said that “the government was obliged to fall back on the UPA’s flagship rural relief programme” amid the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
“The Modi government may still be looking for some twisted logic to reconcile its dislike of a Congress party programme with its wholesale adoption of it. But the country recognises how the world’s largest public works programme not only helped lift millions of Indians from extreme poverty but transformed Panchayati Raj, contributed to climate change mitigation and revived the rural economy,” she had said.
Hussain also took on former Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his earlier jibe at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks on the India-China border dispute. “Everyone knows the reality of the borders, but ‘Shah-yad’ it’s a good idea to keep one’s heart happy,” Rahul had tweeted.
The BJP leader said it was unfortunate for “our leaders” to make such statements. “We have always protected our borders. If the enemies say something, it is fine. If our own leaders begin raising questions, then there is nothing more unfortunate than that,” he said.
He also took a swipe at the Grand Old Party for sending their Gujarat MLAs to a resort ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. “They don’t trust their own MLAs. They are having to keep them tied as their ministers have also realised that the party has no future,” he said.
Hussain added that Congress leader Sanjay Jha’s remarks on the “high command culture” in the national capital should serve as an eye-opener for the party.
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