New Delhi: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi completing nine years in office, the Congress on Friday demanded his apology for what it said was "betrayal" of the people and asked him nine questions on issues ranging from rising prices and unemployment to national security and social harmony.
The Opposition party also said the government should mark this day as 'Maafi Diwas' and released a booklet 'Nau saal, Nau sawaal'. It said Modi became the prime minister on this day nine years ago and therefore, the party wants to ask nine questions of him.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge took to Twitter and said, "In last 9 years, the Modi government has become a "Vishwaguru" in snatching away employment of crores of youths" and used the hashtag "#NaakamiKe9Saal" to mark the occasion.
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said, "The BJP built its edifice in 9 years on false promises and people's suffering."
"Inflation, hatred and unemployment - Prime Minister ji, take responsibility of these failures of yours," Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag and shared the nine questions to the prime minister.
Press Conference in 35 cities
Party general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh told a press conference that Gandhi had raised critical issues during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the nine questions are based on that.
Flanked by party colleagues Pawan Khera and Supriya Shrinate, Ramesh said the booklet is a report card of the nine years of the Modi government and Congress leaders will hold press conferences in 35 cities across the country on Saturday to highlight the "failures" of the government.
"We want the prime minister to break his silence on these nine questions," he said, adding that Modi speaks when he needs to be silent and prefers to remain silent when he needs to speak up.
Ramesh also said that during the last nine years, the prime minister has rebranded schemes of the UPA by giving new names to them and has become the 'prachar mantri' by working hard on doing branding and marketing of such programmes.
He also claimed that the "clean chit" given to China on June 19, 2020 has proved "very dangerous" for India, whereby its negotiating position was weakened.
Posing the questions to the prime minister, he said, "Why is it that inflation and unemployment are skyrocketing in India? Why have the rich become richer and the poor poorer? Why is public property being sold to Modi's friends, even as economic disparities are increasing?"
Ramesh also asked why the agreements made with farmers while repealing the three "black" farm laws have not been honoured and the minimum support price not legally guaranteed. "Why didn't farmers' income double over the last nine years?"
Accusing the government of indulging in corruption and cronyism, Ramesh said why the prime minister is putting people's hard-earned savings in LIC and SBI at risk to benefit his "friend" Adani.
"Why are you letting thieves escape? Why are you silent on rampant corruption in BJP-ruled states, and why are you letting Indians suffer," he asked.
BJP practices politics of hatred: Jairam Ramesh
On the issue of national security, Ramesh said the Congress wants to ask "why is it that even after your clean chit to China in 2020, they continue to occupy Indian territory".
He also asked why the BJP was deliberately practising "politics of hatred" for electoral gains and alleged that an atmosphere of fear in society was being fuelled.
"Why is the BJP indulging in politics of vendetta against its political opponents and playing politics of divisiveness and hatred for its own political gains?"
"Why are you silent on the atrocities against women, Dalits, SC, ST, OBCs and minorities? Why are you ignoring the demand for a caste census," Ramesh said in another poser.
He also questioned the government over democracy and federalism, alleging that it has "weakened" our constitutional values and democratic institutions in the last nine years during which opposition-ruled governments were made to fall through "buying" of legislators.
Khera alleged that the promises made by the government in the last nine years were far away from the reality and should apologise to each Indian for what has happened to them in the last nine years.
'Maafi Ki Diwas'
"We would urge you (prime minister) to apologise during the events being held in the next five days for the betrayal of the country in the last nine years," he said, adding the prime minister should celebrate the day as "Maafi Diwas".
He also said whenever questions are asked the prime minister tries to take people back by 900 years in a bid to distract and accused him of wearing a "mask".
Shrinate alleged that there has been economic mismanagement during the last nine years which has led to highest unemployment in 45 years, GDP falling from 8.2 per cent to 4.1 per cent, price rise and corruption touching their highest levels.
She said while the prime minister claims that India has overtaken UK's economy, he needs to tell the people that the purchasing power per year of every Indian still remains 7000 USD while it is 50,000 USD per person in the UK.
“The three biggest problems in the country are unemployment, price rise and corruption and it is important to get answers to these questions asked. The government should observe a 'Mahotsav' of the nine years of its 'failures' and the prime minister should hold a press conference to answer questions posed to him," she said.
To a poser, Ramesh said it has become clear that people are now fed up of the prime minister and "we are confident that the Karnataka verdict will be have a very impactful result on other upcoming elections".
Ramesh asked, "Why are you practising politics of revenge against Opposition parties and leaders and why are you using blatant money power to destabilise governments elected by the people?"
He alleged that the government had "weakened" the schemes for the welfare of the poor, needy and tribals by cutting their budgets and making restrictive rules.
"Why is it that despite the tragic deaths of over 40 lakh people due to COVID-19, the Modi government has refused to compensate their families? Why did you suddenly impose a lockdown which forced lakhs of workers to return home, and not provide any support?" Ramesh asked.
(With PTI inputs)