Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over demonetisation, Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat on Tuesday said two to three more such “fatwas” will see Congress back in power at the Centre in 2019 Lok Sabha polls under the “capable” leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Raising questions over the Union government’s commitment towards “co-operative federalism” at ‘Agenda Aaj Tak’ summit organised by the news channel in New Delhi, Rawat accused the Prime Minister of “not trying to understand the pain” of non-BJP states, which he claimed, are struggling to get Central funds.
“Barring a few exceptions, every person is feeling the pinch of demonetisation. The move has blighted the economy and lives of common people.
“...if the whole and sole of the country (the Prime Minister) takes two to three more such decisions, issues such fatwas (edicts), people will find Rahul Gandhi quite attractive and... bring Congress in power in 2019,” he said.
The chief minister said Rahul Gandhi is a “capable” leader who accepts challenges and the party had put on a good show in Bihar assembly elections under “hostile conditions” last year.
Congress, which fought the polls as part of the Grand Alliance, had won 27 of the 40 assembly segments it contested. The JD(U) and RJD are the other constituents of the winning alliance.
“In Uttar Pradesh too, he (Rahul Gandhi) has taken up the responsibility. His courage must be appreciated, that he accepted the challenges. He made major contribution when UPA came to power again in 2009.
“(Electoral) defeat at one or two places should not mean his leadership capabilities can be questioned,” Rawat said.
Raising concern over the Centre’s “co-operative federalism” talk, he alleged the slogan cannot be seen being implemented in “letter and spirit” by the NDA government as non-BJP states are struggling to receive central funds.
Referring to Modi’s comment last year that “the Prime Minister and chief ministers make Team India”, the Congress leader said, “I want to ask him, if not the captain of Team India, who will feel pain of states? At this moment, the pain of non-BJP states is not being understood. There is no sympathy for such states.”
He also wondered what role NITI Aayog, which replaced the planning commission, is playing under the Modi dispensation.
Nearly two dozen Union ministers are currently visiting poll-bound Uttarakhand but have no development agenda for the people of the state, Rawat claimed.
“...the central ministers come to Uttarakhand and ‘praise’ me. But they are not talking about what they will do for Uttarakhand,” he claimed.