Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram has said that he wants a “New India where you don’t get lynched for the food you eat and faith you hold dear and not the one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s kind of ‘New India'”.
Speaking at the Times Lit Fest here on the issue of ‘New India: Blueprint for progressive Indian’, Tharoor added that ‘New India’ must be fundamentally rooted in the idea of India that our founding fathers believed in.
Targeting the Modi government according to a report by IANS , Tharoor said: “No wonder they are talking of a New India because they made such a mess of the Old India.”
“I want a New India too. It would be a New India where you don’t get lynched for the food you eat, marginalised for the faith you hold dear, criminalised for the person you love, and imprisoned for making use of fundamental rights guaranteed by your own Constitution. Instead we must look forward to New India that celebrates and welcomes pluralism,” Tharoor said.
The whole point of Indian pluralism is that you can be a whole lot of things and still one thing, the commonality of major differences. For this ‘New India’ to succeed and thrive it will have to remain committed to Indian pluralism, Tharoor added.
The Congress leader and former UN Diplomat attacked the government saying that under the BJP, “dissent is portrayed as seditious, protests as anti-national” which shows petty intolerance and their ideology.
The economy has faced the impact of the failure of the current government, said Tharoor, targeting the Modi government on intolerance, GST and demonetisation.
He said demonetisation was “like taking out 86 per cent of the blood out of a person’s body and then asking him to dance”.
Taking a dig at the Modi government, the Congress leader said when the BJP arrived in 2014 it was the promise of ‘acche din aane wale hai’ (good days are going to come), now in 2017 people are openly saying ‘bure din wapas le aao na’ (please get the old bad days back).
“The ‘acche din sloganeering has met the reality of the economic doldrums we find ourselves in,” he added.
Tharoor, a former MoS HRD and External Affairs also said that in the “three years of economic mismanagement” the country has witnessed a 2.2 per cent fall in GDP growth rate and the successive economic policies have hit the country notably.
“All available data proves that demonetisation was an unmitigated disaster. Ill conceived, unprepared, and poorly implemented, a case of all pain no gain,” said Tharoor.
He said GST would have been beneficial if it had really been one nation one tax, instead the BJP took the “UPA’s design for a sleek horse and produced an ungainly camel”.
“Not one nation one tax but one nation three taxes six GST rates. Such mis-steps would have far reaching negative impact on our economy. Micro and small enterprises have closed down, daily wage workers have been thrown out of work, manufacturing is down, trade has slumped. No wonder they are talking of a New India because they made such a mess of Old India,” he added.
He said though the Prime Minister has spoken about putting India first, “it’s become clear his party and followers put some Indians first and others last”.
“Their New India is an India where narrow minded majoritarianism prevails. Since the party came to power incidents of communal violence have proliferated driven by mob lynching and ‘gau rakshak’ vigilantes, human beings have been assaulted, killed…”
The development cannot be the preserve of old India and that the New India cannot be the plaything of old Indians. “You can choose a New India that embodies hope or one that promotes fear,” the MP said.
He said that “the road to New India appears littered with wreckage of all that was good and noble about old India”.
“Whether it’s the ‘acche din’ of 2014 or the New India of 2017, under the present government these phrases appear a mere subterfuge,” he said.