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Open critique by FM spouse brings smile to Cong, leaves BJP red-faced


Nirmala Sitharaman with her husband Parakala Prabhakar


New Delhi: A scathing article on the state of economy by none other than Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's husband has turned out to be the political hot potato, all the more so, as it came ahead of two Assembly elections just a week away.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's husband Parakala Prabhakar in an article in a news daily has suggested that the Bharatiya Janata Party has not been able to propose any economic framework of its own.

If that "wasn't an embarrassment enough" for a government that has seen enough indicators of economic slowdown, including a lowered GDP projection, the husband of the sitting Finance Minister advised the Narendra Modi government to "embrace" his predecessors -- former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and P.V. Narasimha Rao's economic model.

Prabhakar is himself an economist. He comes from a political family himself and both his parents were legislators in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

His asking to return to Rao's model of economy shouldn't be surprising, considering the Parakala family was closely associated with P.V. Narasimha Rao. He has been part of 'Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development' (RGNIYD), something very close to Gandhi's, which he resigned from later on to fulfil his political ambitions.

In a no-holds-barred attack on the Modi government, Prabhakar alleged: "In economic policy, the party mainly adopted "Neti Neti (Not this, Not this'), without articulating what was its own Niti (policy)'."

The Congress, expectedly lost no time in attacking the government.

Congress's Bengal unit chief Somen Mitra took tweeted: "They may have mocked him for years without having an iota of knowledge how an economy as big as that of India runs, but at the end of the day, Dr Manmohan Singh and his reform model continues to be the ultimate benchmark of development for the Indian economy."

Taking a dig at BJP's appropriation of Sardar Patel, Prabhakar also suggested that BJP could portray Narasimha Rao on the economic side, just the way it has done for Patel. He also insinuated, 'a muscular political, nationalist, security platform' was created to compensate the deficiency on economic front and a re-election bid.

The BJP has been tight lipped about the entire saga. When contacted, a senior party functionary directed to the media department, while two BJP spokesperson refused to comment on it claiming ignorance.

However, the Congress, which has got an endorsement from the spouse of the Union Minister, was in no mood to let go.

Pawan Khera of the Congress told IANS: "That's sane advise coming from Mr Parakala Prabhakar. Anti-Nehru cannot be the raison de etre of the BJP. They do not have there own heroes, nor their own economic vision. If they can borrow heroes from Congress heroes -- who found the RSS repugnant -- why not borrow its economic policies too?"

As the Indian economy continues to remain "unstable", this open critique of the economic policies by the Finance Minister's husband, just a week before Haryana and Maharashtra polls has left the BJP searching for an answer.

Prabhakar during his unsuccessful political stint had lost an election followed by a bypoll. Later he joined BJP before leaving the saffron fold to be a part of the new political Party 'Prajarajyam' and became its founding General Secretary and spokesperson.

However, he has been a person known to ditch and hence held an infamous press briefing in Prajarajyam party office where he had launched a scathing attack on the same party he was appearing as a spokesperson of.

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