New Delhi: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday took a dig at the he Modi government for blaming online cab services Ola and Uber for the slowdown in the automobile sector.
"Before elections it was said that Ola, Uber increased employment. Now it is being said auto sector slowdown is due to Ola, Uber," the AICC general secretary tweeted.
Why is the BJP government so confused on the issue of economy, she asked.
Priyanka tagged a media report on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's remarks that the slowdown in the automobile sector was due to many factors such as the change in mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber instead of committing for monthly installments to own a car.
The Congress has been attacking Sitharaman for her remarks saying it reflected the "inefficiency, immaturity, and inexperience" of the BJP in governance. It also demanded apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Tuesday, Sitharaman said the recent slump in the automobile industry was in part due to the change in the mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber, instead of committing for monthly instalments to own a car.
The automobile industry in India has been reeling under crisis due to a dip in sales in recent months.
Ashok Leyland has announced 59 non-working days in five plants in September after the company reported a 28 per cent decline in sales in July. Hero MotoCorp reported a 20 per cent drop, while Maruti Suzuki suffered a 34% reduction in sales.
Her statement was met with hilarious responses on Twitter. Congress leaders, however, were less forgiving. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi lashed out saying that Sitharaman's statement was a grave joke on the poor state of the economy.
"This remarkable, unbelievable statement by the finance minister reflects the inefficiency, the immaturity and the inexperience, the three I's, as Shri Modi would say of the BJP in governance. The gross overstatement by the FM is a grave joke on the economy, on the country. Why? Because the dip in the GDP is the real new normal for this government," he said.
The Congress leader asked how India would be able to become a USD 5 trillion economy with the slowdown and wondered why steps were not taken in the recent General Budget to overcome the problem in the automobile sector.
Taking on the finance minister, he said the mobile app-based car booking system and the auto sector could not be correlated as the sharp decline in the auto sector is spread across India, including the rural regions.
Singhvi said the car booking system had not emerged at once and has been in the country for almost a decade now.
"It is not a new trend that is responsible for killing the new car market," he said, adding that the slowdown in automobile industry did not happen all of a sudden as sales had been falling for months since July 2018.
"The finance minister should also remember that the slowdown isn't affecting auto companies alone, but its impact is felt across sectors, throughout the economy. Have Ola and Uber become this powerful that they can impact the economy at such a large scale?" he asked.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, in a tweet, said, "FM blames Ola, Uber and millennials for the slump in car sales. Chairman of Maruti Suzuki who knows better denies it. FM must recognise that slowdown is for real & across-the-board going far beyond only passenger cars. But in this era of 'uber-nationalism,' anything goes?"
Singhvi also urged the Prime Minister to take responsibility and take steps to tackle the slowdown. "Why is he silent and hiding," he posed.
(With inputs from PTI)