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Can’t promote ‘Make in India’ abroad & peddle ‘Hate in India’ at home: Tharoor

Modi’s foreign policy is dogged by a growing perception that the “salesman is selling an empty package”.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has infused a lot of “personal energy” into his diplomacy, but it’s difficult to push the Make in India initiative abroad while promoting “Hate in India” at home, says former central minister Shashi Tharoor.

According to the seasoned diplomat, Modi’s foreign policy is dogged by a growing perception that the “salesman is selling an empty package”.

“He has brought a lot of personal energy to his diplomacy and there is no underestimating that. His travels have been tireless. He has been a salesman for his view of India and Indian development,” Tharoor told IANS in an interview during a visit here to promote his book “An Era of Darkness”.

“But there are two problems,” said the author-cum-Congress leader.

“The first is there is an increasing perception that this salesman is selling an empty package. The reality at home is not being given enough importance. For example, Indian investors are not investing enough in India. Our home-grown capitalists are taking their money abroad. At the same time, Mr. Modi is trying to sell the attractions of investing in India to foreigners. This is a genuine problem,” said the Lok Sabha member from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram constituency.

“The second problem is that diplomacy has always got to be a means to an end. In our time we were clear that the purpose of our foreign policy is to promote a transformation and development of India and the Indian people.

“That is, we need good relations with countries from which investment comes, we need good relations with countries which are sources of our energy security like the Arab world, we need to be on good terms with countries which are important sources of food security, countries where Indians are working and, therefore, they need to feel secure in those foreign countries and so on.

“It cannot be an end in itself. It’s difficult to promote Make in India abroad if you’re promoting ‘Hate in India’ at home,” says the keen student of history, who was Minister of State for External Affairs between May 2009 and April 2010.

He said the main difference between the Congress and the BJP lay in their different views of nationalism — the former believing in an inclusive one which embraces all, irrespective of religion and language, and the latter promoting a narrow variety that is not shared universally.

“Unfortunately, what the ruling dispensation prefers is a narrow-minded nationalism which reduces India to a particular community, the Hindu community, and that too a particular view of Hinduism which may not be shared universally by everyone. For example, the Dalits may dissent from that narrative.

“To call the one nationalism and the other not is absurd. They are all different variants. One is inclusive and the other is narrow-minded nationalism and the (proponents of the) latter happen to be in power now. Some are feeling left out of this nationalism which I feel is a dangerous aspect.”

Having spent a considerable time at the United Nations, Tharoor, who ran for the post of Secretary General in 2006 along with eventual winner Ban Ki-moon, did not want to read too much into the emergence of right wing politics in many countries.

“For example in France, Marine La Pen has captured some 30 percent in the polls but 70 per cent are still opposed to her brand of politics and it’s unlikely that she will win the presidency.

“In Holland, Geert Wilders may have become a highly-visible figure, but he is not going to be capturing the majority. Brexit was an anti-immigrant vote, (Donald) Trump’s victory was partly fuelled by xenophobia. All these things are true but each country’s politics has its own domestic reasons,” Tharoor said.

The charismatic 60-year-old politician gave some hints about his next literary venture.

“This book (‘An Era of Darkness’) has just come out and is coming out in the UK onMarch 2. My publishers are very keen that I write something on the 70th anniversary of India’s independence about the national character and us as a people.”

IANS

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‘Clown prince’ vs ‘court jester’: BJP-Congress spat gets uglier

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arun-jaitley-rahul-gandhi

New Delhi, Sep 20 (IANS) The war of words between the BJP and the Congress over the Rafale deal and bank NPAs got uglier on Thursday with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley calling Congress President a “clown prince” and in turn getting dubbed a “court jester” by the grand old party.

Countering Congress’ relentless attack on the Narendra Modi government over the France-made jets and bad loans of banks, Jaitley took to the social media to accuse Gandhi of “concocting lies” on the twin issues and blamed him for “polluting” public discourse.

“His strategy is simple, concoct a lie and repeat it as many times as possible,” said Jaitley dismissing as false Gandhi’s claims of Prime Minister Modi waiving off Rs 250,000 crore of 15 industrialists.

“The world’s largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a ‘clown prince’,” he wrote.

Jaitley said the amount referred to by Gandhi was lent by the banks prior to 2014 during the UPA regime, which then “kept rolling over the loans to conceal them (as) loans despite the default”.

“The truth is that your government allowed the banks to be looted,” alleged Jaitley.

The Congress lost no time in getting back at the Finance Minister.

“Jaitley is desperate in his attempt to stay relevant as a court jester to Modi Sultanate. Abuse, diversion and deception are the desperate tools of a ‘Lying -Jait-LIE’,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.

The Congress demanded Jaitley to coherently answer politically-relevant issues instead of “hiding behind the cloak of expletives for the opposition”.

It posed 10 questions to Jaitley on the “Rafale scam” that include as to why Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was “superseded” for Rs 30,000-crore contract to benefit cronies, why transfer of technology was “sacrificed” and why “national security was compromised” by reducing the number of aircraft from 126 to 36.

“Since your answers to the 10 questions are zero, cuss words are your only refuge,” said the party which has been gunning for the Modi government over the Rafale deal which according to the party has caused “loss” to the exchequer and “endangered” national security.

Besides approaching Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi for a special and forensic audit and demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal, the Congress has also sought the resignation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the issue.

Alleging Modi government’s “collusion with bank looters”, the Congress also posed five questions on the issue of surging bank NPAs (non-performing assets).

Countering Jaitley assertions of NPAs being a UPA legacy, the Congress pointed to Finance Ministry’s July 2018 reply in Parliament claiming “NPA’s stood at Rs 2,51,054 crore when demitted power and they have increased to a whopping Rs 9,61,962 crore by March 2018. NPA’s now stand at Rs 12,00,000 crore”.

Wondering if Jaitley lied in his blogpost or in Parliament, the Congress dared him to publicly state the amount of loans given in the last 52 months of the Modi government along with details as to how much of those loans have become NPAs.

“How much worth of loans were ever-greened and restructured. How much worth of loans became defaults and wilful defaults. How many wilful defaulters escaped from India and with how much amount of money during 52 months of Modi government?” the party said.

“How many economic offenders, defaulters and looters did you bring back to India and jailed?” the party said yet again attacking Jaitley over his “meeting” with now fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

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Now Congress calls Arun Jaitley ‘court jester’

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Randdeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Sep 20: Hitting back at Arun Jaitley, the Congress on Thursday dubbed the Finance Minister a “court jester” who is “desperate to stay relevant”.

Amid the relentless trading of charges between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Rafale deal, Jaitley on the day took to social media to accuse Gandhi of “concocting lies” on the deal for the France made fighter jets and the bad loans of banks.

He said the Congress leader was “polluting” public discourse.

Hitting back, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, in a tweet, called the BJP leader a “court jester” and demanded answers on the Rs 41,000 crore Rafale “scam”.

“And yes ‘Jait-LIE’ ji (sic), the desperate quest to stay relevant of a ‘court jester’ by wasteful blogs continues.

“Please reply: Why hide behind abuse when trapped in Rafale maze? Why supersede HAL for Rs 30,000 crore contract? Why no answer on Rs 41,000 crore loss in Rafale Scam,” said Surjewala in his response to Jaitley’s tweets.

The Congress has been gunning for the Narendra Modi-led government over the Rafale deal. Besides approaching Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Rajiv Mehrishi for a special and forensic audit and demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the deal, the party has also sought the resignation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the issue.

The Modi-led government and the BJP have been dismissive of all the charges by the Congress.

IANS

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Rahul Gandhi concocting lies on Rafale, NPAs: Arun Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi, Sep 20: Calling him a “clown prince”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of “concocting lies” on the Rafale fighter jets deal and the bad loans of banks. The Congress leader was “polluting” public discourse, Jaitley said.

In a Facebook post, he said Gandhi first “lied” on the Rafale deal and was now lying on the non-performing assets (NPAs) claiming that the BJP government had waived loans of 15 industrialists amounting to Rs 2.5 lakh crore. Not a single rupee of any debtor had been waived, he said.

“His (Gandhi’s) strategy is simple, concoct a lie and repeat it as many times” as possible, Jaitley said and wondered whether a person with a “temperament to concoct facts” deserved to be a part of the public discourse.

“The world’s largest democracy must seriously introspect whether public discourse should be allowed to be polluted by the falsehood of a ‘clown prince’,” he added.

Referring to Gandhi winking at his party men after hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the parliament, the BJP leader said the public discourse was a serious activity, not a laughter challenge, and that it could not be reduced to a “hug, a wink or repetition of falsehood”.

“In mature democracies those who rely on falsehood are considered unfit for public life. Many have been banished from political activity because they were caught lying. But this rule obviously can’t apply to a dynastic organisation like Congress party,” he said.

“If the Rafale concoctions were the first big lie, the second one stated repeatedly is that Modi waived of Rs 2.5 lakh crore of 15 industrialists. Every word of that sentence repeatedly uttered by Rahul Gandhi is false,” he added.

Jaitley said the amount being referred to by Gandhi were lent by the banks prior to 2014 when the UPA government was in power, which then “kept rolling over the loans to conceal them (as) loans despite the default”.

“The truth, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, is that your government allowed the banks to be looted. The loans were inadequately securitized. Your government was in complicity… By repeating a lie on several occasions, you can’t change that reality,” he said.

The Finance Minister said while the UPA leaders claimed that when they went out of power, the NPAs were only Rs 2.5 lakh crore. The truth was that NPAs were actually Rs 8.96 lakh crore and were hidden under the carpet as revealed by an asset quality review conducted by the Reserve Bank of India.

He said no effective steps were taken by the UPA to recover or reduce the NPAs and post 2014-15, they increased not because more money was lent but because interest was mounting on the overdue amounts.

“The only effective move which has taken place in this regard is the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). It has changed the debtor-creditor relationship in India.”

He said the Reserve Bank of India had identified the twelve major defaulters who jointly owed about Rs 3 lakh crore to various banks.

“The banks under UPA took no steps to recover these loans. They did not prosecute a single major debtor who had siphoned off money. It is the NDA government which through IBC, changed the debtor-creditor relationship and enabled the banks to effectively pursue the recovery,” Jaitley said.

IANS

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