New Delhi : As the call drop crisis affecting the telecom sector refuses to ease, the Congress has demanded that Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad should be dropped.” We remember that during his days as a spokesperson for the BJP he would be insisting on ministers to be dropped from our government. But now that he has completely failed to come to grips with this crisis, it is time that he is dropped,” said Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed, also a former union telecom minister.

The issue of call drops has been engaging the government”s attention at the highest level with Prime Minister Narendra Modi voicing serious concern

as early as in August and asking officials concerned to take urgent steps to arrest the crisis. The government had also stepped up pressure on mobile operators to check call drops asking their promoters including Anil Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla and Sunil Mittal to directly intervene in the matter.

But Prasad recently accepted that the problem of ”call drops is there” although the situation is improving. “All the telecom operators have been told to take steps to improve quality of services,” he had said, adding that the telecommunications department had reviewed the situation on a weekly basis for the past two months to reduce call drops. However, even on other issues like net neutrality and the draft policy on encryption, Prasad’s handling of people”s concerns has left a lot to be desired.

At a media briefing, Ahmed said the BJP as a party has a long history of first opposing all the modern ideas and policy innovations that have been introduced by various Congress governments from time to time, and then embracing these as its own achievements.” The Prime Minister now goes abroad and fondly claims to the digitalising India, but we should recall that when our Congress prime minister late Shri Rajiv Gandhi had predicted that there would be soon a time when everyone will carry a phone in his hand, the then leader of opposition and later prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had mocked at him and said that it is good to have dreams, but then one should not daydream,” said Ahmed.

The Congress general secretary observed that whether it is bank nationalisation or computerisation every move by the then Congress governments was opposed by the BJP and its earlier avatars. “They had even opposed the Aadhar scheme and the direct cash benefit transfers ideas, that the PM now boasts as his success stories,” he added.

Responding to a comment by the Shiv Sena”s mouthpiece “Saamna” that leaders like Pandit Nehru and Indira Gandhi were popular in an era without the social media, and that former prime ministers Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh had made notable contributions to the development process, Ahmed said that this is a reality that cannot be denied. “ The Prime Minister may have a different approach, he may decide that the postage stamps honouring these leaders shall be discontinued, but this cannot change history nor would this taken away the respect the people have for them,” he added.

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