Congress leader says BJP wants to ‘run away’.

The Congress on Tuesday accused the government of not being interested in the smooth functioning of the monsoon session of Parliament in a bid to “run away” from accountability.

“The Prime Minister and the government are not interested in the monsoon session of Parliament. They have started conflicts on issues like in the last session,” Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters.

“The last session was washed out because of the ruling party. Wrong accusations were levelled on the Opposition. The BJP and the government are already preparing to make the monsoon session dysfunctional so that those questions that could not be raised in the last session – and the happenings between the last session and this – should remain unanswered. They want to run away from questions and are not prepared to give answers.”

The statement, coming close on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to the Swarajya magazine where he claimed that the state of the economy in 2014 was shocking, seems to suggest that the monsoon session is likely to be stormy. Accusing the government of preferring confrontation over dialogue, Mr. Sharma said, “This mindset of continuous propaganda, in perpetual election mode, that wants to be in a state of conflict with the Opposition…It is this Prime Minister who has prevented the building of any national consensus on key issues with this mindset.”

Contentious issues

The Opposition parties are expected to meet on July 17 or 18 to firm up their strategy for the monsoon session, which kicks off on July 18. While issues like agrarian distress and the state of the economy are likely to be discussed, the Opposition may also discuss its possible candidate for the post of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, with the retirement of P.J. Kurien.

However, Congress sources said there has been no discussion on the issue yet, and they expect the government to stage a confrontation rather than accept a consensus candidate for the post. Mr. Sharma also attacked Mr. Modi’s claim that India did not have good data on employment, seeking to remind the government that the post of the Chief Statistician of India remains vacant for months.

He said that while the National Investment Rate in the UPA days was 39%, it was just 28% now and the National Savings Rate had fallen from 36% to 29%. He said that while the 10-year average GDP growth was 7.8% during UPA days as per the old series, the present GDP growth rate was just crossing 7% even as per the new series. He also said that while the share of the household sector in the GDP was 15.7% in UPA days, it was just 9.1% now. He added that a fall in foreign exchange reserves in the last two months was a matter of concern.

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