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PM anti-national, sold interest of nation’, alleges Sidhu

New Delhi | Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “ruined” government companies and “favoured” private firms in five years of his tenure and accused him of being “anti-national for selling the interest of the nation”.

Sidhu also described PM Modi as “nikamma” (useless) and said he should stop harping on the issue of nationalism to garner votes and talk about the matters of national interest.

Addressing a press conference here, the Punjab minister alleged, “Modi is the business development manager of Ambani and Adani, as he has favoured them at the cost of state-run firms.”

The Congress has been attacking the prime minister for “promoting crony capitalism and favouring his industrialist friends”.

The government has, however, denied the charges.

Sidhu also alleged that while SBI and MTNL are accruing losses, PM Modi is endorsing private companies like Paytm and Reliance Jio.

“Adani and Ambani accompanied the prime minister on foreign visits and 18 big projects, which should have ideally been given to government companies, were handed over to them,” he claimed.

The Congress leader alleged that the “chowkidar (watchman)” took care only of the rich and ignored the rest 99 per cent of the population.

“And, the prime minister says he’s the chowkidar of the nation. He’s the chowkidar of the top 1 per cent of the population. He never took chairmen of government companies along with him on his foreign tours. Are government firms not good enough?” Sidhu asked.

The cricketer-turned-politician alleged that under the “chowkidar’s” watch, PSUs like Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) turned into loss-making enterprises.

“While BSNL is grappling with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore, the prime minister is endorsing Reliance Jio, which has posted a huge profit. While SBI is reeling under NPAs, Modi can be seen in advertisements of Paytm. He is the fist PM to do so,” he alleged.

On the night of November 8, 2016, the prime minister announced demonetisation. They next day, all newspapers carried advertisements of Paytm with his pictures, he added.

“Modi sold the interest of the nation. He’s anti-national,” Sidhu alleged.

The Punjab minister said farmers are asked to “give a blank cheque if they apply for a loan of Rs 2 lakh. But you let businessmen like Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya scoot off after looting banks”.

He claimed that government firms that were doing good before Modi became prime minister are now fighting for survival.

“ONGC had 1.60 lakh crore cash in hand in 2013-14. By 2017-18, only Rs 296 crore was left. BHEL, which posted a profit of Rs 7,400 crore in 2013, reported a loss of Rs 913 crore in 2016,” he claimed.

“BSNL doesn’t have money to pay salary of its employees. HAL, which manufactured multi-role fighter Tejas and Dhruv helicopter, did not get the contract for Rafale. Is this your nationalism?” Sidhu asked.

India accumulated a debt of Rs 50 lakh crore in 67 years, Modi increased it to Rs 82 lakh crore in five years. The World Bank has dropped the use of “developing” nation tag for India and classified it as an “under-developing” nation, he claimed, adding that a record number of jobs were lost in the BJP government’s tenure.

“We thought that the chowkidar would be ‘chaukanna’ (alert), but he proved to be ‘nikamma’ (useless),” Sidhu added.

The prime minister should stop harping on the issue of nationalism to garner votes and talk about the matters of national interest, he said.

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