BJP president J P Nadda on Saturday acknowledged that India faced twin challenges of combating COVID-19 and the economic pain engendered by the long lockdown and noted that the Union government’s prescription of self-reliance however, was not a return to the licence quota raj.

Addressing a presser on the first anniversary of the second successive term of the BJP-led government, he said, “the concept of aatmanirbharta or self-reliance expounded by Modiji [Prime Minister Narendra Modi], is not about going back in time to the license quota raj or anything negative. It is about encouraging our industry and is a progressive policy.”

Also read: PM Modi’s letter lists Art 370 abrogation, Ram temple settlement among key achievements of 2nd term

The last one year “will be known for many bold decisions”, and the government’s timely actions to deal with coronavirus had ensured that the situation remained in control when many big and powerful countries found themselves “helpless”. The Modi government had introduced a culture of change in governance, of “doing the right thing because it is right,“ and not procrastinate due to political expediency, he said.

Mr. Nadda lambasted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his criticism of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation. 

He said Mr. Gandhi’s understanding of these issues was limited and that his statements were not aimed at addressing the crisis but were about politics. “Rahul Gandhi doesn’t understand these issues deeply. His understanding and study of issues is limited. That is why he makes confusing remarks by sometimes questioning the lockdown and sometimes demanding why it was not being extended”. His (Mr. Gandhi) statements were for political ends and all about politics, and they have got nothing to do with addressing coronavirus issues. 

Mr. Nadda recounted that BJP workers had been on the ground doing relief work during the entire lockdown period.

He noted that the coronavirus testing in India had reached 1.6 lakh a day from 10,000 earlier, and the country was manufacturing over 4.5 lakh personal protective equipment (PPE) kits daily as well.

Key govt decisions

Mr. Nadda cited the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, annulment of Article 370, strengthening of anti-terror laws and those against crimes against children and bank mergers among the government’s key decisions.

He admitted that the coronavirus situation would also have an impact on political campaigns during elections. The BJP had been using technological tools to organise its activities.

The first major election in the coming months is the Bihar Assembly polls, slated for October-November. 

Mr. Modi and his Cabinet had taken oath on this day last year.

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