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Meltdown politics has begun

The impact of global meltdown on the Indian economy and the aam aadmi, the centerpiece of the ruling party’s 2004 election slogan.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2008 00:10 IST
HT Political Bureau
HT Political Bureau
Hindustan Times

The Congress put up a brave face as the Opposition, led by the BJP and the Left, slammed the Manmohan Singh government over the latest crisis to hit the country —the impact of global meltdown on the Indian economy and the

aam aadmi

, the centerpiece of the ruling party’s 2004 election slogan.

“The fundamentals of the economy are strong and the banking system regulated against such shocks,’’ said senior leader Digvijay Singh.

But privately, Congress leaders are concerned that the social base the party has been trying to construct is begin affected. “Despite our achievements, in the run up to polls, we find the muslims accusing us of being pseudo-secular, the hindus aren’t happy and the middle classes are upset over inflation and rising home loan rates and unemployment.”

On its part, the Opposition lashed out at the UPA.

“There are clear signs of an economic activity slowdown, combined with high inflation, declining industrial activity and high capital costs. I apprehend that within the next three months, more bad news will visit us. The next area of crisis could be the insurance sector and pension funds,” warned BJP’s Jaswant Singh, former Finance Minister.

His colleague Yashwant Sinha stressed that this is not the time for short-term measures like Cash Reserve Ratio cuts.

Left leaders like CPI’s D Raja and CPM’s Mohammad Salim lambasted the UPA for “mismanaging the economy and blindly following the Western economic model’’. “The challenge of salvaging the giant banking sector and financial institutions cannot come at the expense of investments in the social sector and the Millennium Development Goals,’’ warned Salim while demanding that the troika of the Finance Ministry, Reserve Bank of India and the Planning Commission evolve a full proof strategy to ensure that the crisis does not blow off the Indian economy. The UPA’s policy of ``casino capitalism’’ will not work, he said.

(With inputs from Srinand Jha, Saroj Nagi and Vikas Pathak)

First Published: Oct 11, 2008 00:08 IST