Nirmala Sitharaman attacks Congress, terms Rahul Gandhi as 'doomsday man of India'

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was on Saturday short in her reply to the general debate on the Budget in the Lok Sabha and instead attacked former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was not present in the House as he was away in Rajasthan, for building fake narratives, calling him a "doomsday man of India" joining the "break India" fringe elements and who is in a habit of constantly abusing the constitutional authorities of the nation, including the elected Constitutional authority.

Congress MP from Kerala TN Prathapan retaliated with a privilege motion against her for abusing an elected member of the House, challenging her on what basis she had accused Rahul of being a "destructive force in the country" and charging him for "an attack on the pride and privilege of Parliament."

"We cannot entertain a tendency of branding dissent voices and criticism as fringe or destructive or anti-national," Prathapan said in his privilege motion. The first part of the budget session was shut on Saturday and so the privilege motion goes to the Speaker to decide on it in the second part that starts on March 8.

Sitharaman equally attacked the Congress with her 10 expectations that were belied, including the waiver of the agricultural loans to the farmers in Madhya Pradesh when it was in power as also in Punjab and the complaints are still pouring in from Rajasthan on the promise given in the elections.

She said her expectation was that Rahul will give some relief to the Punjab farmers who are agitating on the Delhi borders for almost three months and she expected that he would show at least one point in the three contentious farm laws that is against the farmers, but he had none to point out.

Sitharaman mocked Rahul for talking about the farm laws when the Congress party itself does not know where it stands on the issue, a reason why he and his party colleagues keep calling them as "black laws," without pinpointing any fault that should be rectified.

Referring to the Prime Minister narrating, in reply to the motion of thanks to the President, on how his government is helping out the small farmers, Sitharaman said she had expected the Wayanad MP to react by making his mother's "Damad" to return the land forcibly acquired from the small farmers.

The finance minister went on to decry Rahul for the tendency of building fake narratives, use abusive language and run away levelling allegations. "His trust in the elected Parliament system is completely 'khatm' (finished) and noted how the Congress under his leadership lost faith in India so much so that it is signing a "memorandum of understanding" with the Chinese ruling party," she said.

Forget Rahul insulting Prime Minister Modi, he even debunked the doctrine of former PM Manmohan Singh, Sitharaman said, recalling how a copy of the anti-corruption bill brought by the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was torn to pieces by Rahul at a time when Dr Singh was abroad.

Ridiculing him for claiming the government's onslaught on the Mandis, the wholesale food grain markets, she said Rahul could not show a single Mandi closed down. Instead, she has given Rs 30,000 crore to the states for development of infrastructure of the Mandis. This money through the new agriculture cess will help improve the Mandi (APMC) infrastructure.

"The government is pumping money in the Mandis, but Rahul is spreading the lie that it wants to shut them," she asserted.

The cess was imposed in the Union Budget on various products, including petrol and diesel, to promote the infrastructure in the agriculture sector that will help the farmers, she said.

Sitharaman said the UPA government can take credit for the MGNREGA, but it should also own up mismanagement in the rural employment scheme. She said the Modi government has been continuously putting more money in the scheme, increasing Rs 1.11 lakh crore in the ongoing financial year.

On Rahul's attack on the government promoting "crony capitalism," the finance minister said, "Yes, these cronies are the common people of the country as also those for whom schemes were announced to build toilets, houses and other schemes."

During the Coronavirus outbreak, she pointed out the government's efforts to protect the small businesses, like suspension of the insolvency provisions and not dragging them to the courts, extended working capital to them without any security and later extended to anyone having a bank account.

According to data shared by the government, both public and private banks have sanctioned loans worth Rs 2.39 lakh crore under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme as of January 25.

"The government considered all advice, but designed the measures that our own industries suggested," Sitharaman also stated.

The approach the government has taken may be completely different but has served India better than what was advised to copy different countries, the finance minister noted.

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