PM ‘sleeping at wheel’, nation headed for accident: Rahul on govt’s handling of economy, coronavirus

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the government over its handling of the economy and coronavirus, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “sleeping at the wheel” and the country was headed for an “accident”.

On the state of the economy, he said it was just the beginning of a “tsunami” and things would be worse going forward as “millions and millions of people in India” are going to suffer like never before.

“I have been saying that coronavirus is a very serious problem and the government has not taken action on it the way it should have,” Gandhi told reporters outside Parliament.

India’s strength is its economy and that has been “destroyed” by Prime Minister Modi, his ideology and his policies, the former Congress president alleged.

“I am member of the opposition, I am seeing a tragedy unfolding. I am seeing a monumental tragedy unfolding,” he said.

“He (Modi) is unable to utter a word about the economy. I can understand that Nirmala Sitharaman ji does not have much understanding about the economy so she will not be able to speak. But the prime minister should tell the nation what is he doing about the economy,” Gandhi said.

Claiming that there was “no preparation” by the government to tackle coronavirus, he said the government was “asleep” and did not realise that the virus was spreading in this country and was going to have devastating consequences.

“Our prime minister is sleeping at the wheel. He does not understand these things, unfortunately, I am telling you, the Prime Minister of the India is clueless about the economy, about how these things work and we are heading for an accident as a nation,” Gandhi said.

He highlighted that the Congress-led UPA under Manmohan Singh had run the economy smoothly for 10 years and made sure the country tided over the global economic crisis of 2008.

The informal economy of India protected the country back then, he said.

“With demonetisation, you have taken that buffer out; you have taken that shock absorber out. Now, you are going to face the full shock that you didn’t face in 2008,” Gandhi said.

He claimed that the results of demonetisation and implementation of a “flawed” GST were now becoming apparent.

“Lakhs and crores of people will suffer losses in this country. The youngsters need to ask the prime minister what has he done about their employment because they are the future of this country,” the former Congress president said.

Asked whether those close to him would get nominated for Rajya Sabha elections, Gandhi said he is not the party chief and not taking such decisions.

Gandhi alleged that the government was busy spending money trying to save YES Bank and in order to protect “15-20 stakeholders” it has run roughshod over the economy.

Prime Minister Modi should explain to the country, what his strategy is to bring the country out of “this mess”, Gandhi said.

He also slammed the government over its response to coronavirus, saying it is not just a virus that is infecting people, but it is a very serious problem for the economy.

“It is a direct attack on the economy, so we have to start taking emergency measures now… It is too late, but we need to start now and take to minimise damage,” he said.

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