The task may be a tough one given PM Manmohan Singhs track record as an economist, but political circles feel that the global slowdown and its impact on the Indian economy will make it irresistible for the BJP to corner the UPA government on the issue by pushing it to the top of its campaign list.
While affirming that the economic crisis will be a major plank, BJP leaders, however, contended that the soft on terror approach of the UPA would also be a critical subject for the opposition.
The BJPs intent to sharpen its attack on the issue was evident on Tuesday when the party called for a roundtable conference to be held in the next fifteen days on the economic crisis, charging a downturn on various fronts. Sector after sector are getting affected, the party said, contending that the first time 15% downturn on export front in October 2008, is an indication of shape of things to come in near future.
First, it was real estate, which is witnessing no booking phase at its worst. This has already rendered thousands of workers jobless as the construction work has stopped on many projects. Now the exports are falling resulting in retrenchment of hundreds of thousands of workers, particularly in textile a party spokesperson said. The party maintained that the auto industry had also started cutting down production targets with Tatas, Leyland and other auto majors working either one shift a day or three days a week.
Criticising the Centres move to contain the downturn saying these were too little and too late, the BJP said that efforts to increase liquidity in the market had failed to yield results. Even after releasing the liquidity, banks are asking for more collateral and are not releasing even the sanctioned funds. Its clear that worst is yet to come, the spokesperson said.
CRR or repo rate and that too after much delay, is not the answer to the grave crisis on hand. The government seems to be complacent and appointing all types of committees only, he said, pointing out that countries like the US had offered $700-billion bailout, Europe nearly $400 billion and China $600 billion to keep the economy on track. BJP warns that unless remedial actions are taken in time, the country will lose out, he said.
The BJP also demanded a CBI inquiry into the spectrum controversy charging that there is a spectrum scam in the making. Demanding that letters of the PM and Trai, in which telecom minister be made public, the BJP said they would prove who was lying over the non-transparent distribution of spectrum.