‘Amit Shah’s Son Making Huge Profits is Not Economic Growth’: Watch Kanhaiya Kumar Slam BJP’s Tejasvi Surya on TV Debate
When faced with questions on the BJP equating itself with the Army, the BJP candidate excused himself from the debate, citing campaign work.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Bengaluru South candidate Tejasvi Surya faced off against the Communist Party of India (CPI) Begusarai candidate Kanhaiya Kumar in a televised debate on Friday.
On India Today the two young political leaders butted heads. The “youngest” BJP leader, however, had to leave before he could deliver closing comments unexpectedly.
Q) Is the 2019 elections a contest between a “stable” Modi government and a coalition Opposition.
Kanhaiya Kumar reframed the question as a debate between “jumla vs unemployment”. He cited the false promises of the government and unemployment numbers that are at a four-decade high under the Modi-led government. Citing the BJP’s distaste for an Opposition mahagathbandhan, he pointed out the even Narendra Modi the leader of a coalition government — the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
“The debate should be between Modi versus we the people of India,” he said.
Tejasvi Surya said, “Modi has provided infrastructure to the poorest of poor. Greatly formalised an informal and inorganic economy. Macroeconomic stability of the country is far higher than five years ago.”
Shunting the employment numbers aside, Surya claimed: “The last five years have seen the highest number of public employment generated because of the public infrastructure created.”
He accused Kanhaiya’s party of trying to keep India poor and redistribute poverty, “Because communism thrives on keeping people poor and pitting one class against another.”
He cited the Ujjwala Yojana “where the rich gave up their subsidy willingly so the same money can be used to give additional benefits to the poor.”
Kumar citing former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan’s comments said that the seven per cent economic growth was a lie. After GST and demonetisation, small and medium enterprises suffered greatly. He said, “The fine print behind free gas connection is that every time you go to refill your connection, you pay back the price of the first connection in instalments.”
He questioned, “If MUDRA loans have invested in the economy where are the jobs created?”
Kumar added, “Under central government, 27 lakh posts are vacant. When there is a vacancy, before the examination for vacant posts, the question paper was leaked. So, the vacant posts are left empty. Out of the 70,000 people trained under the skill development programme, not even one per cent has received jobs.”
Kumar said, “Sanitation workers are not given minimum wage.” He cited the numerous deaths because of manual scavenging to illustrate the failure of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
He also said, “51 per cent of the money sanctioned for the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ initiative, was used to put up Modi’s posters.”
Kumar further attacked Surya saying, “When the government was in the Opposition it made promises, now that it is in power it is still making promises. None of the deadlines of the various initiative touted by the government does end in 2019. All of them end after 2022 or 2024.”
“All the initiatives mentioned have failed on the ground level. In the last five years, people’s income has come down. Only certain corporate houses have seen a growth in income. Hence, the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer.”
Kumar also said, “The properties of around 150 MPs have doubled in the last five years. Every 30 mins a farmer is committing suicide, and the farmers’ insurance company has reported a profit of Rs 10,000 crores.”
He accused the government of running on the policy, “privatisation of profit and socialisation of loss.”
Surya cited IMF and other international agencies who supposedly held that India is the world’s fastest growing economy. He said, “The largest number of people have come out from under the poverty line in the last five years of the Modi government. In the last five years, India has witnessed an increase in per capita income by average India by 45 per cent.”
He accused Kumar of painting a pessimistic image of India, while he was portraying a picture of a young, aspirational India.
He said if unemployment were as high as Kumar claimed, there would be social unrest in society. He claimed the society is calm, people are happy only the few people who are jobless and out of power are the only unhappy people.
Q) What matters more, nationalism or jobs?
Surya said, “Nationalism is pride towards a country which is strong, prosperous and secure. You can’t expect nationalism to be brimming if you are a poor country.”
“If the country is poor, it would be witnessing strife, social ills. Ensuring a prosperous society is a part of nationalism. The Modi government has created most jobs and prosperity.”
He claimed if a coalition like UPA was still in power India would have devolved into a North Korea or Venezuela.
Kumar blamed Surya for evading his direct questions. Kumar brought up how the government-owned BSNL was unable to pay its employees; how Air India is on the verge of being sold; and how one by one, every government company is in stages of distress.
“On Rafale deal, HAL was not offered a tender. A bankrupt company was handed the Rafale deal,” said Kumar, adding, “By name-dropping North Korea and Venezuela, we can’t escape the state our country is in.”
“Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah and his company making huge profits does not mean the economy is growing,” said Kumar, adding, that the per capita income was steadily going down.
Under the guise of nationalism, said Kumar, the BJP claims that before them the country did not retaliate when it was attacked. He reminded Surya of 1947, 1965 and 1971.
When faced with accusations that the Modi government has been trying to equate itself with the Army, Surya excused himself saying he had to leave to attend a campaign programme.
Surya said, “India is a civilian democracy and the calls for military action is decided by the civilian political establishment, unlike Pakistan. So the credit or blame for any military action will ultimately lie at the feet of the civilian government in India. The Modi government should take credit for showing spine to retaliate against any enemy of the country.”
Kanhaiya pointed out, “The government is taking credit for the Balakot airstrike but the government is not being held accountable for its intelligence failure in Pulwama.”
Kumar said, “The army should never be dragged into politics, especially when a civilian government is in power.”
He cited the 2014 BJP manifesto and how its promises of job-guarantee, poverty alleviation and security for women and farmers have still remained unfulfilled. He pointed out how BJP leaders have moved on from their development promises of 2014 to topics of nationalism such as the army, airstrike, Balakot in 2019 rallies.