Four years of NDA govt: It's Modi vs anarchist combination, says Jaitley

As the Narendra Modi government started its fifth year from Saturday, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said this would be a year of consolidation of policies and programmes which the government has implemented. Slamming the coming together of ideologically diverse non-BJP parties, he said the political agenda for the debate this year would be “Modi versus an anarchist combination.”

Without mentioning taxes on fuel, he said the resources mobilised by the government go back to the people for better infrastructure, better social sector expenditure and poverty reduction programmes.

He slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his remarks on taxes, saying that taxes are not used for the benefit of the government. 

“The Congress president must remember that taxes don’t go into the pocket of the government,” he said on his Facebook page in an article, titled – My reflections on the NDA government after completion of four years in power.

Rahul had earlier accused the BJP government of “loot” in the name of “fuel” by collecting Rs 10 trillion in taxes on petrol, LPG and diesel as well as for not passing on the benefit of the falling international crude price to the common people. 

Jaitley said aspirational India will reject the “anarchist” formation of “disparate political parties” which are promising to come together to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the next general elections.

“A group of disparate political parties are promising to come together. Some of their leaders are temperamental while others occasionally change ideological positions. With many of them, such as TMC, DMK, TDP, BSP and the JD(S), the BJP has had an opportunity to share power. They frequently change political positions," he said. 

Aspirational societies with vibrant democracies do not invite anarchy, the minister said, adding that a strong nation and the requirements of good governance abhor anarchy.

Several opposition parties, including the Congress, are trying to forge an alliance to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Modi has given ‘scam-free’ government and his fifth year will focus on consolidation of policies and programmes, he wrote.

Jaitley, who had a renal transplant earlier this month and was on Friday shifted out of ICU, said the country's mood has transformed from despair to hope in last four years.

“Good governance and good economics have been blended with good politics. The result of this has been that the BJP is more confident, its geographical base has become much bigger, its social base expanded and its winnability hugely increased,” he said.

Attacking the Congress, Jaitley said the party “is in desperation without the perks of office. From the dominant party of Indian politics, it is moving towards the ‘fringe’ and its political positions are not of a mainstream party but one usually adopted by ‘fringe’ organisations. Fringe organisations can never hope to come to power,” the minister's Facebook post noted.

“Its best hope lies in becoming a supporter of regional political parties. State level regional political parties have realised that the marginalised Congress can at best be either a junior partner or a marginal supporter,” he said.

He said ruling India through coalitions is possible but the nucleus of a coalition has to be stable. 

Taking on the Congress, he said a regional political party whose base at best is confined to a few districts was able to extract a chief ministership from the Congress to which the party meekly surrendered. “It (Congress) has even lost its bargaining capacity. It is today putting on a brave face in Karnataka where the losers are masquerading as the winner,” he said.

Point of view

  • A regime of policy paralysis has transformed into one of decisions and actions
  • NDA institutionalised a system where discretions have been eliminated
  • FIPB abolished
  • GST, demonetisation led to formalisation of the economy
  • Creditors no longer have to chase debtors due to insolvency and bankruptcy code
  • Poor and marginalised holding bank accounts due to the financial inclusion programme. 
  • Mudra Yojana providing cheaper credit to the weak and marginalised
  • Quality of life changing in villages due to access to electricity, gas, building of roads and affordable rural housing
  • Crop insurance scheme and MSP aimed at eliminating agri-distress 
  • Expenditure under MNREGA doubled compared to UPA's 
  • Macro economic indicators on strong footing 
  • Bond yields back to 6-7 per cent
  • Infrastructure expenditure increased by 134 per cent compared to the last year of the UPA

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel