NEW DELHI: As first phase of upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat approaches, the Congress has formulated a two-pronged electoral strategy to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi on two major political and economic fronts bringing in former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on economic and Rahul Gandhi on political fronts.
Singh, who is held in high esteem world over for his understanding on all complicated issues relating to economy has already held few meetings in three business centres of Gujarat and would be addressing few more public rallies where he would be taking on Modi and his government on economic issues confronting business community like demonetization and GST.
During public meetings Singh had addressed so far in Gujarat, he got good response from the public as well as traders who are up against the Modi government on the above issues. The senior Congress leaders associated with the election strategy are of the view that fielding Singh would be beneficial to the party because he is heard with respect and trusted as far as state of economy is concerned. It may be recalled that during the course of his election campaign trail, Singh raised several serious economic issues and sought clarifications from the Prime Minister. All his queries have so far gone unanswered by the government.
It has been decided that Singh would address public meetings in cities and would try to put the government and Modi on the mat on demonetization and GST. He would also hold a number of press conferences in all the major cities. Singh might also be asked by the party leadership to hold press conference in the state capital along with Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress a day or two before the campaign for the first phase of voting ends. Similar exercise could also be undertaken before the end of second phase.
In the joint news conferences, Rahul Gandhi will respond to all political questions whereas former PM will answer specific queries on economic front. Singh’s credibility as an economist would not only add credence to Congress campaign but also force the main rival BJP that has been ruling the state for last over two decades, on back foot simply because there is no one in the BJP to match Singh who ushered reforms in the then closed door economy in India that opened India’s growing market to the world.
Unfortunately, the BJP never played a role in country’s economic liberalization despite ruling the country twice in the aftermath of economic reforms that began in 1991 under the stewardship of former Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao-led Congress government. The Congress party, which has used the services of Singh after power in the last general elections, has decided to rope in the former PM in Gujarat for it being a business-dominated state.