PM flays regional parties, prompts angry responseApril 15th, 2009 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday blamed regional parties for the backwardness of several states, sparking an angry response from regional groupings which accused him of irresponsibility.
The prime minister’s comments came at a meeting with members of the Editors Guild, where he underlined that a political party with a “national perspective” was needed for good governance.
Without taking names, he also said that regional parties were responsible for several states remaining economically backward.
Across the country, leaders of regional parties called the comment irresponsible and said it arose as a result of frustration after realising the increasing influence of smaller outfits.
“It is an irresponsible statement by the prime minister,” said spokesman Shivanand Tiwari of Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United.
Tiwari, a Rajya Sabha member, said Manmohan Singh should not forget that the Congress ruled India for decades and it was as much to blame for the backwardness of various states.
The Samajwadi Party wanted to know why India was economically a backward country if the Congress had the answers to fiscal ills.
“At least six times the Congress had a chance to come to power without the support of regional parties. Still why is the country lacking in development? For that the Congress is also responsible,” Kamal Akhter, a Rajya Sabha member of the party, told IANS.
He added: “The statement by the prime minister shows his desperation and frustration.”
In Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Iftikhar Hussain Ansari said: “Federal character is an important and significant feature of India’s democracy.
“The regional parties facilitate swift development by focusing on regional issues. It is because of this realisation that there is a growing demand for decentralisation of economic powers from the centre to the state,” he added.
Bhim Singh, president of the Panthers Party, said: “The Congress is facing a tough challenge from regional parties this time. That is why the prime minister has made a statement like this.”
Also in Bihar, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), still a member of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, said: “All parties are working for high growth and development, whether regional or national.”
The Trinamool Congress said in Kolkata that regional disparities had a role to play.
“The prime minister should know that regional parties are attracting people because regional aspirations are on the rise due to lopsided economic development,” said Partha Chattopadhyay, who heads the party in the West Bengal assembly.
Tags: akhter, angry response, backwardness, bhim singh, country leaders, economic powers, editors guild, fiscal ills, good governance, jammu and kashmir, manmohan singh, national perspective, panthers party, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, rajya sabha member, regional groupings, regional parties, Samajwadi Party, taking names