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Manmohan Singh claimed the UPA government’s policies have led to profound social transformation and unprecedented economic growth. Photo: PTI
Manmohan Singh claimed the UPA government’s policies have led to profound social transformation and unprecedented economic growth. Photo: PTI

Manmohan Singh defends himself after allegations in 2G scam

Singh said he never used public office to 'enrich' himself, family or friends

New Delhi: Under attack over allegations in 2G scam, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asserted that he had “never used" public office to “enrich" himself, his family or friends.

“As far as I am concerned, I can say in all humility that I have not used my public office to enrich myself, to enrich my family or to enrich my friends." “And still the BJP government keeps on harping on this theme of corruption just because it wants to distract the attention of the people to non-issues," he said in an uncharacteristic hard-hitting speech at a convention organised by Congress’ student wing NSUI (National Students’ Union Of India) in New Delhi.

Singh’s statement came in the backdrop of former Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman Pradip Baijal’s allegations that Singh had warned him of harm if he did not cooperate on 2G telecom licenses.

Baijal, who was probed for several years in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, also claimed that the CBI wanted him to “implicate" Arun Shourie and Ratan Tata in the case. Latching onto the issue, BJP ministers had called the Singh-led UPA government a “coalition in corruption".

Speaking at NSUI event, Singh also stoutly defended the performance of the two UPA governments under him while also lauding Rahul Gandhi saying that he has been very active both in and outside Parliament.

“There is a new life in the Congress after the election reverses in 2014. Our vice president Rahul Gandhi is also very active and vocal both in Parliament and outside Parliament. We must sustain the momentum," Singh said.

Lauding the NSUI workers for there “timely" agitation on the land acquisition law amendment, Singh said the youth have to play a key role now. Singh said the two-fold task is to “expose" the failures of the Modi government and highlight the achievements of the UPA regime.

Singh claimed that UPA’s policies have led to profound social transformation and unprecedented economic growth. He also mentioned that during its rule, India had gone on to become the second fastest growing economy after China.

“Many of our programmes are now being repackaged and marketed as initiatives of the BJP government. What the BJP had opposed when we were in power are now being sold as its contribution," he said.

He referred to the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ programme saying it was “carbon copy" of schemes and the New Manufacturing Policy of the UPA government. “It does not surprise us, it is a compliment if BJP takes up the constructive work done by UPA," he said.

The BJP leadership, he said, had constantly focused on calling UPA corrupt and levelling the charge of policy paralysis, both of which were far from reality. “We have nothing but to be proud of our achievements," Singh told student workers of the Congress.

He, however, emphasised the need for the party to connect with the youth and also take to new tools of communication like social media, where he said that rivals seemed to have taken a lead.

“Rajiv ji ushered India into modern Information Technology age, but as a party we have not been able to take full advantage of the new opportunities that have arisen. Our political opponents appear to have left us behind in that area. We must fill up this gap. We have much catching up to do and no time to lose," he said.

Emphasising that Congress party and its leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi were committed to eradication of poverty and bringing in a new India, Singh asked NSUI workers to give correct information to people about what is wrong with BJP government and the “false talk" of the weaknesses of the UPA government.

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