New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday held a high level meeting of top leaders and said that the Indian economy was 'under siege' and signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will deal a 'body blow' to it. Gandhi was speaking at a meeting called to discuss Congress' plan of ten-day long protests against the policies of Narendra Modi-led government, particularly on the state of Indian economy and unemployment beginning next week.
Gandhi's statement is significant as it comes in the backdrop of Congress' attempts of cornering Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government over the issue of economy, including the recently concluded assembly election campaign. It also comes just a fortnight ahead of the scheduled winter session of Parliament where the Congress as well as other opposition parties are going to raise issues related to the state of economy.
“Instead of acknowledging the severe slowdown and looking for a comprehensive resolution, Prime Minister Modi is too busy managing headlines and events. This cavalier attitude comes at a high price, a price that millions of our fellow Indian especially the unemployed youth and farmers and fellow Indians are having to endure," Gandhi said in her address to party leaders.
Gandhi told party leaders that it was the Congress' responsibility to take on the 'anti-people issues' and create awareness over the issue. She made strong comments over the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and said it will affect farmers, shopkeepers and small and medium enterprises.
“As if the government’s economic decisions have not damaged the economy enough, it is now ready to deal a body blow to it by signing the RCEP – the regional free trade agreement of 16 Asian countries...We cannot afford to become a dumping ground for products – including agricultural produce from foreign countries," she added.
"Weakening of institutions, withholding data, tampering with statistics have resulted in erosion of India's economic credibility," said Sonia Gandhi.
n the meeting on Saturday, party leaders brainstormed over Congress' ground level agitation, protest demonstration and media outreach from 5 November to 15 November, which will focus on the issue of economic crisis, unemployment, farm distress and "adverse" impact of the proposed RCEP agreement. The ground campaign is expected to culminate into a key event at the end of November in the national capital.
“Between 1 November to 8 November, our party leaders are addressing 35 press conferences to create awareness. Congress party has decided to raise these issues from 5 November to 15 November in all districts on the ground. In a date to be decided later in December, a national rally will take place in Delhi to seek attention from Parliament and common people as well," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
Surjewala added that top leaders of the Gandhi family – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra - and all top leaders of Congress will attend the national level programmes.