Varanasi: Congress took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his reported jibe at UPA'S MNREGA scheme, saying the welfare scheme fell prey to corruption in Gujarat during his tenure as the chief minister, and the party will raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
"Will give a befitting reply to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha by exposing how MNREGA fell prey to the corruption of his partymen and government machinery in Gujarat under his chief-ministership," AICC General Secretary and in-charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh Madhusudan Mistry said.
Terming MNREGA as one of the UPA's flagship programmes for providing jobs to millions of poor people, Mistry asked Modi to tell countrymen what schemes he has for providing mass jobs to poor people "rather than just using lofty rhetorics".
"Modi instead of just giving such lofty speeches, should tell the countrymen that how will he be providing jobs to millions of people, what schemes does his NDA government has like MNREGA that can provide mass employment," Mistry said.
PM Modi on Friday said that MNERGA was the living monument of Congress failure. His remarks had drawn strong reaction from the Congress leaders.
Mistry said that Modi knows this very well that MNREGA was not the Congress party's failure, but it was his failure as the Gujarat's chief minister, where the MNREGA funds were siphoned off before reaching the real beneficiaries.
Mistry also raised question on why Modi failed to stop BJP leaders and the government machinery from misusing the MNREGA funds.
According to Mistry, MNREGA, in which the Centre's responsibility was that of providing funds to the state governments and it was more responsibility of the state to ensure its better implementation at the grassroots level.
Mistry described the Union budget of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as anti-poor and said that it mentioned nothing for the poor and the middle-class rather it focused to benefit the corporates.
He also asked what has Modi government given for Varanasi in the financial budget.
"A hike in service tax to 14 per cent and corporate rates reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent shows the government's intentions for poor and middle-class people," he said at the sidelines of a three-day camp, organised by Congress party to train youth workers.
Mistry also accused BJP to do a flip-flop over GST and FDI. "Those who earlier used to oppose GST and FDI now favouring these," he said.
He asked Modi "not to turn the living city of Varanasi into a museum in the name of preserving its heritage sites" saying that "the Prime Minister should focus on city's infrastructure development".
Mistry alleged that the proportionate benefit of the reduction in petroleum prices has not been transferred to the public as the government is continuously hiking excise duty even when the international crude oil prices were down.