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Amit Shah raises questions over multi-party democracy


New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday attacked the Congress for its "culture of policy paralysis", alleged corruption, and unguarded borders prior to 2014, saying people then had wondered whether India's multi-party democratic system had failed.

Shah said the state of the country during the Congress rule was such that the common man was clueless as to where the nation was headed and whether the leadership was actually able to steer the country out of this mess.

"After nearly 70 years of independence, there was a question in the minds of the people whether the vision of the founding fathers had really been realised. Whether the multi-party democratic system had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the citizens of the country," he said, addressing an event here.

Shah said people were absolutely disappointed with the performance of the previous governments and in 2013. The Congress-led UPA was in power from 2004 to 2014.

"There was widespread corruption, our borders were not secure, and our soldiers were dying every day, there was a total policy paralysis, lack of clear vision of the leadership, the economy was in doldrums, women didn't feel secure and the youth was disappointed. There was a government where every minister considered himself as the PM, whereas, the PM himself was not considered as PM," he said.

Shah said in this scenario, the nation in 2014 gave a resounding majority to the Narendra Modi-led government, an absolute majority government for the first time in 30 years.

Talking more on how the "culture of policy paralysis" earlier has transformed into a bold decision making one, Shah said previous governments could take only five decisions in the last 30 years, whereas, the Modi government took over 50 decisions in last five years.

"These included implementing GST, demonetisation, opening Jan Dhan accounts, ending triple talaq, surgical strikes on terrorist camps across the border, one rank one pension... and now removing Article 370 and 35A," he said.

Shah said the Modi government worked in an organised manner with clear targets, did detailed analysis of the resources, formed a well laid out implementation strategy and did micro planning on how to correct the wrongs committed by the previous governments. This is how the wheels of development started turning in the country and reached the stage that we see today, he said.

Congress hits back

The Congress criticised Shah's statement on multi-party democracy and said if accepted, the thinking will deliver a "body blow" to federal India.

Accusing Shah of "belittling" India's multi-party democracy, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the BJP chief is questioning the collective wisdom of the founding fathers of the Constitution. He said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) itself is an alliance of multi parties as he invoked BJP allies Nitish Kumar, Parkash Singh Badal and Uddhav Thackeray to respond.

"Home Minister Amit Shah's statement belittling India's multi-party democracy is shocking and indicative of a thinking which, if accepted, will deliver a body blow to federal India. Given India's rich diversity, only a multi-party system can be inclusive and representative of the Union of India," Sharma said on Twitter.

"Questioning the collective wisdom of the founding fathers of the constitution is unacceptable. Reminding the BJP that the NDA itself is a multi-party alliance and its member parties have been formed governments in states," he also said.

Sharma said he hopes that Kumar, Badal, Thackeray and others "are listening".

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