By Atul Krishan
New Delhi, May 28 (IANS): Even as the BJP-led Central government is celebrating nine years in office, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has strongly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling party alleging that its rule has been nothing short of a black era.
In an interview to IANS, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak launched a scathing attack on Modi and the BJP, claiming that they have accomplished nothing in the past nine years and that the Prime Minister is not a world leader but a 'propaganda leader.'
Pathak pointed out that Modi's claims of making India a world leader are nothing but more rhetoric from his party.
He questioned in which sectors India has achieved this supposed world leadership - education, health, social justice, or law and order. According to Pathak, Modi has only excelled in propaganda and advertising, making him a world leader in those areas.
He said that India has been a respected country in the world since ancient times. Indians who work abroad in multinational companies have earned respect and recognition for India, he claimed.
"I would say that it is the Indians working abroad who have given India its recognition," the AAP leader said.
Pathak raised questions about the Prime Minister's style of functioning and wondered why he never interacts with the media.
He pointed out that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh occasionally held press conferences, and when Modi came to power, people expected him to have interactions with the media.
"However, Modi took it a step further and imposed a ban on media interactions. Over the past nine years, there have been no open or free interactions with the media by Modi," Pathak said, criticising the Prime Minister.
The AAP leader also pointed out that currently there is no freedom given to the media.
"The BJP has been manipulating and pressuring the media for their own benefit, thereby undermining an institution," he said.
Targeting the government over the misuse of the Central agencies, Pathak said that over the last nine years of their government, the BJP has resorted to framing its opponents with sedition charges. He emphasized that allegations of sedition are serious in nature and have far-reaching consequences for a person's life.
"It also raises questions about the principles of a free democracy. When opposition leaders and students are being booked under sedition without any valid reason other than opposing the government, the government's actions should be considered as seditious. The government has been utilizing Section 124-A (Sedition) of the Indian Penal Code against its opponents for the past nine years," Pathak accused.
Pathak said that all the research institutes are suffering and no significant progress has been made in this area over the past nine years.
"I myself was a professor at IIT, so I can confidently say that very little has been done to improve the infrastructure. The government has not even made efforts to enhance the existing setup," he said.
The AAP leader said its decision on demonetisation in November 2016 hurt the people. He alleged that demonetisation has been one of the biggest failures of the Modi government in the last nine years, and yet they continue to engage in such practices.
"During the first demonetisation exercise, I was in Varanasi, where I met businessmen who had to close down their businesses. Thousands of people lost their lives. The entire market relied on the discontinued denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, leading to a disaster," he claimed.
Over the past nine years, the government's actions have resulted in a decline in GDP. What kind of reform is this? The country will not forgive Modi for destroying the financial structure.
Pathak stated that over the past nine years, the Modi government has excelled only in misusing the federal probe agencies such as the ED and the CBI against its opponents.
According to Pathak, soon after coming to power, the Modi government unleashed the ED and the CBI on the opposition. They would threaten the opposition leaders to either join the BJP or face the consequences.
He mentioned that over the past nine years, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) have been mostly misused, thereby exposing the true face of the government.
Pathak also targeted the government for mismanagement during the Covid-19 pandemic as it completely exposed the poor state of the health system.
"People died due to a lack of beds and oxygen. It was another significant failure of the BJP government in the last nine years," he said.
Pathak stated that in the last nine years, the AAP has exposed the BJP on various fronts. He mentioned that this is the sole reason why Modi has been targeting Arvind Kejriwal and abusing his authority.
Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister on May 26, 2014 after he led the BJP to a historic majority of 282 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP is celebrating the nine years of its governance and highlighting the work and achievements of the Modi government.