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Cong spearheaded freedom movement, does not need lecture on nationalism: Anand Sharma

twitter-logoPTI | October 16, 2019 | Updated 20:52 IST

Chandigarh, Oct 16 (PTI) In the backdrop of BJP making the scrapping of Article 370 in J&K a major issue in Haryana polls, Congress on Wednesday said it spearheaded the freedom movement and "did the job of nation building" and so does not need a lecture on nationalism. Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also hit back at the BJP, saying with "full responsibility" that the Indian economy was "staring at bankruptcy". "The prime minister, (Haryana CM Manohar Lal) Khattar and BJP leaders should stop giving lecture on nationalism to people and least of all to Congress, which spearheaded the country's freedom movement. Our leaders have given sacrifice for the nation. We did the job of nation building," Sharma told reporters. Attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Sharma said, "By holding a photo and picture of (Mahatma) Gandhi, one does not become a Gandhian". Replying to a question, Sharma said this nation belongs to every citizen. "But they are setting a dangerous trend by branding those who are opposed to BJP, Modi or Khattar, as anti-nationals. This can be dangerous for democracy," he warned. He said the Modi and Khattar governments should speak about "real issues" and not divert public attention from critical issues. Sharma said the economy is in bad shape and critical sectors are not doing well. "With full sense of responsibility today I have to make a statement — India is staring at bankruptcy. There can be serious repercussions if things are not controlled," he said. "We openly challenge BJP leadership — the prime minister, the chief minister — let them have a debate with us on any public platform on burning issues concerning people," he said. Sharma said that automobile sector is bleeding and after May this year, there have been 35 lakh job losses while some banks were in bad shape. "In addition to the automobile sector, textile and leather sectors, all of which are labour intensive, have collapsed in the country," he said. The Congress leader said India has slipped to the 102nd position in the Global Hunger Index 2019 of 117 countries, and behind its neighbours Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which he said is "shameful". Speaking further, he said, "India's economy is in bad shape because of faulty policies of the Centre and we are witnessing lowest GDP growth of past seven years. "Demand is down, consumption is down because common people don't have money to make purchases. And to whom are they giving relief — it is to big industrialists. GST and exporters' refund and PSU bills, whose payment is yet to be made this amount stands at Rs 10 lakh crore. 88 per cent is the fall in the credit to the commercial sector--from Rs 7.38 lakh crore to Rs 95,995 crore. "Not only Asia but entire emerging countries worst performing currency is the Indian rupee, but there is no talk on this,” he said. Sharma said Prime Minister talks about 5 trillion dollar economy over the next few years, but wondered how this would be achieved when GDP is around five per cent. "5 trillion dollar economy is a pipe dream, for this there should be 9 per cent GDP growth for five years, now when GDP is around five per cent, how will they realise this,” he said. “Rs 24 lakh crore is government's revenue target that includes GST, Income Tax and other taxes. By September 15, this was below Rs 7 lakh crore, to collect revenue of balance Rs 17 lakh crore is an uphill task..from whom will they collect GST when factories have shut down, from whom will they collect income tax when people are losing jobs,” he asked. He said demonetisation destroyed informal sector and what dealt a further blow to economy was “implementing wrong model GST implementing in a hurry.” Sharma said that Diwali is round the corner, but market sentiment is down and people are not making purchases as much should have been there.  About Congress' prospects in Haryana, he said, "We have an able leadership. People remember the development works which were undertaken in Haryana during Bhupinder Singh Hooda regime — which pertained to infrastructure, laying of road network, industrial zones were set up, private sector investment flowed and people got employment”. Sharma said that BJP's claim of winning 75 plus seats in 90 member Assembly will not be realised “because people will vote them out of power". "At least three Cabinet Ministers will end up on third spot,” he predicted. PTI SUN ABH ABH

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