‘Surgical strikes, Article 370 are like fast food, can’t solve unemployment’, says Shiv Sena
Barely three weeks after the Shiv Sena hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for scrapping Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, it launched a scathing attack on the Centre over rising unemployment and the economy.
In his weekly column in party mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut said that Modi is a “popular leader” but decisions such as the one on Article 370 and surgical strikes are not the solution for India’s rising unemployment and earning basic livelihood. Raut is executive editor of Saamana while Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is editor of the Marathi daily.
“Modi carried out surgical strike on Pakistan and dared to scrap Article 370 that’s why he is a popular leader but all this is like ‘fast food’. But surgical strikes and Article 370 are not the solutions for issues of ‘roti, kapda, makaan’ and unemployment,” he said.
The Sena leader in his column Rok Thok remarked that the government cannot “blame Pandit Nehru or his policies for the current situation”. Raut said the government was dreaming about becoming $5 trillion economy while “unemployment and beggars are increasing in the country.”
Raut who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, said that the BJP in 2014 had promised to create two crore jobs annually, but in the last year 1.10 crore people have lost their jobs and blamed decisions such as demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout. He said that Modi has become popular around the world but warned that the country will “flare up” with the “anger” if the “unemployment kept rising” while “Modi is on one of his foreign trips”.
The Sena has upped its offensive on the BJP ahead of the state Assembly elections. On Saturday, an editorial in Saamana had blamed demonetisation for unemployment and said it led to loss of livelihood. “Decisions taken on a whim leads to losses, this has been proven with demonetisation and to an extent through the roll out of the GST... Surgical strikes and removing Article 370 are patriotic acts. But providing jobs and saving the existing jobs is even more patriotic. The patriotism is lacking in this,” Raut wrote in his column.
Raut listed out sectors including automobile, real estate, defence production, retail, telecom, textiles that are facing a downturn. Terming the economic condition “grave”, Raut said that the country has not faced such a slowdown.
He also took potshots at Modi’s Make In India and Start Up India programmes. He said that the government has spent “crores of rupees” on advertising but the programmes have “flopped”.