Budget 2016: The President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to Parliament on Tuesday to mark the start of the Budget session was dismissed by the opposition parties like Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, CPM, others as ‘disappointing’ and criticised for its ‘deafening’ silence on major issues like the JNU row, ‘misuse’ of sedition laws and Jat reservation stir. However, the address, which essentially outlines programmes and policies of the Union Government, at the same time was described as ‘inspiring’ by the Bharatiya Janat Party (BJP) leader and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu. Here is what the Opposition had to say about Pranab Mukherjee speech:
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said, “I heard President’s address in Parliament. He spoke about government’s achievement but nothing on Rohith issue (suicide of Dalit student in Hyderabad), what’s happening in the universities”.
The CPI(M) said the Budget session President Pranab Mukherjee address has covered everything except “major issues like price rise, JNU and Jat agitation” and that the party will move amendments to it to raise these serious matters.
Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said that as a statement of the government’s policies for the country the President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament was “extremely disappointing”.
“It is bereft of vision and hope for a people reeling under the most widespread disaffection witnessed in the country thus far.
“In a situation where all citizens feel enraged by the frontal assault on all our cherished libertarian and egalitarian values, the address does not even refer to the urgent challenges that we face as a nation,” Kumar said.
He said that at a time when the nation is in tumult and citizens feel alienated, the least that was expected was for the government to hold out hope for a distraught nation.
“The President’s address is deafeningly silent on pressing issues and demonstrates the political and moral bankruptcy of the Modi government,” he said. Another Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said the address had “nothing new” to offer to the public.
“There was nothing new in the speech. It was full of slogans like ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’. There was nothing which will give any relief to the people. The atmosphere is tense in the country,” he said.
“Everything is cliche, same thing we are hearing again and again. It is a big disappointment,” he added. Naidu said that it is evident from President’s address that India under NDA is marching forward. “The President’s address is inspiring. It gave a detailed account of government programmes and policies, indicating the direction in which the Government is moving, about the priorities of the Government and then about our broad vision for the future of the country.
“It is evident that India under NDA is marching forward. And the government is working for inclusive growth guided by the philosophy of Sabka Saath–Sabka Vikas,” Naidu said. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government did not need a certificate from Congress. “We have to get it from the people of India and people have given us certificate that we are working on the right direction,” he said. Stating that major issues were left out not because of oversight but by design, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “Misuse of sedition clauses, border issues, Hyderabad incident…nothing were mentioned. President speech did not reflect any of these issues.”