Who split Pak into two, tell people: Congress to Modi


New Delhi, Oct 19 The Congress on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for highlighting only abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir during the assembly polls campaigning in Haryana and Maharashtra where polls are due on October 21 and asked him to tell the people who divided Pakistan into two parts.

"Wherever the Prime Minister goes, he remembers only (Article) 370. He (Modi) does not know when Pakistan split and who did it. It was we (Congress) who split Pakistan... where were you (Modi) then?" senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters.

Sibal said Modi must inform the people of Haryana that it was because of the Congress that Pakistan's integral part was split. "This happened under the Congress rule. Praise the Congress, but you don't have the guts to do that," he said.

The Congress leader asked what the BJP government under Modi has done to implement Article 47 of the Constitution, which directs the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and improve public health.

"You only remember Article 370 but you do not keep in mind your constitutional duties. Around 93 per cent children are not getting proper nutrition and your entire focus is on Article 370 and you are doing this because of the Assembly polls... You do not know about the people who are suffering," said Sibal.

Sibal also criticised Modi and Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah over their remarks that Jammu and Kashmir lagged in development because of Article 370.

Citing the figures of poverty, infant mortality and unemployment rates, along with gross enrolment ratio in higher education and human development index rank of Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Sibal said, "These states did not have Article 370, but most of the corresponding figures of Jammu and Kashmir were way better."

He also cited data from the US Customs and Border Protection report, and said that in the last three years, the number of Indians arrested for trying to enter the US illegally has tripled.

"It means a lot of poor Indians are leaving the country in search of employment opportunities and the Prime MInister should respond why this is happening as he has been running the country for the last five-and-a-half years," he said.

Sibal also slammed the government over the international rating agencies downgrading the India's growth following a serious economic crisis in the country.

The Congress leader said rating agency Standard & Poor's in its report in October said the gross domestic product will be 6.3 per cent and not 7.8 per cent while Moody's Investors Service cut the GDP forecast to 5.8 per cent and international agencies tracking GDP say there is a slowdown.

He said the International Monetary Fund on October 15 said the earlier GDP projection of 7 per cent is at 6.1 per cent today. "Our economy is in a crisis. The World Bank on October 13, 2019, said 6 per cent growth will be recorded as opposed to 6.8 per cent announced earlier," he said.

Slamming the BJP Ministers and leaders, Sibal said, "Piyush Goyal (Railways and Commerce Minister) says there is no slowdown and that Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Banerjee is Left-leaning. Are the IMF, World Bank and other international agencies Left-leaning too?"

The Congress leader said India's rank has slipped on global competitiveness index to 68 from 60 while in the Global Hunger Index in 2013-14 India was at 99th position and now it has slipped to 103.

He pointed out that India has slipped in world happiness report from 117 to 140. "We were at 27 in global democracy index now we are at 42, democracy is also in danger," he alleged.

Sibal said: "We respect everyone that participated in our freedom struggle, be it Veer Savarkar or anyone else. But you have to decide if you are a follower of Mahatma Gandhi or Savarkar," he said.

"You (BJP) don't know how to look at governance or public because you look at everything from Savarkar's point of view," he alleged.