‘Nawabs of negativity’ looks scary for nation: Arun Jaitley slams grand alliance
Finance minister Arun Jaitley launched a scathing attack on the opposition’s grand alliance (mahagathbandan), saying the ‘Nawabs of Negativity’ may come together, but they wouldn’t hold together or carry much credibility among the people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking from New York through video conferencing at the CNBC-TV18’s Indian Business Leaders Awards (IBLA) ceremony, Jaitley said the alliance is a weak, fragile combination “where survival is the priority and policy probably comes very low down in the priority” and the “situation looks scary”.
On the upcoming elections, he said there was a necessity for continuity of policy, stability, decisiveness, ability to take up challenges, “and not something which is a weak, fragile combination where survival is the priority and policy probably comes very low down in the priority”.
When asked about the challenge of a united opposition, he said the main consideration of the people would be leadership.
“And I think that’s something where we score. The kind of individuals who have staked their claims (in the grand alliance), from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana and from the privileged family of Delhi, if you look at it, the situation looks fairly scary,” he said.
On the performance aspect, he said the Narendra Modi government has done a lot which “we have reason to be proud of”.
On the narrative aspect, he said falsehood cannot be constitute a permanent narrative as it collapses and falls apart.
Jaitley said as against leadership, decisiveness and performance, opposition’s unity is based on an arithmetic that is based on a negative politics and seeks to “keep one man out” — referring to PM Modi.
He observed that India is a highly aspirational politically conscious society which will not opt for a suicidal cause.
“Such a society would opt for a tried and tested established leadership. Nawabs of negativity may come together. But that’s not something where they are going to hold together and carry much credibility as far as the people are concerned,” he said, asserting that the opposition’s arithmetic would not succeed in India.
‘Confident on eve of budget’
On the upcoming budget, when asked whether it would be a full budget or an interim one on account of the election year, Jaitley said there are some challenges that would need to be addressed off immediately, but “we intend to work within the conventions that exist”.
“We have done well. We are proud of our performance,” he said, adding that there was no reason to have any nervousness on the eve of the vote of account or the elections and he was completely confident.
“This is the first five-year tenure of the government and not one rupee of direct taxes or indirect taxes has been wasted. On the contrary, taxes have come down,” he pointed out.
On the concerns that remain, Jaitley said he wanted India to cross the 8% GDP growth barrier, despite being the fastest growing economy in the world. For that, he stressed on getting into the unreformed areas, such as in agriculture, state road transportation, railways, etc.
Noting that India was getting very aspirational, he cited a study that said that from by 2025, 44% of Indian population will jump to a middle class level. This, he said, required a fast growing economy.