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President's Parliament address a damp squib, says BJP

February 21, 2013 16:07 IST

Terming as a "damp squib" President Pranab Mukherjee's joint address to Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday said the speech did not touch upon relevant issues like price rise and corruption.

"It is a damp squib as it has not actually touched what is relevant today and we are very disappointed," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters outside Parliament after the President's address.

Rudy also dubbed the address as a "old one". "I think he read the old speech because there was nothing new thing in the speech," Rudy said.

In the hour-long maiden address to the joint sitting of Parliament, Mukherjee touched upon various issues like slower growth of economy and steps to deal with factors responsible for the slowdown.

"The President has given a joint statement in both Houses. It has not referred to the issue of corruption after all. UPA government is besieged with charges of corruption especially in the latest copter case," Rudy said.

He said the government did not talk about corruption deliberately.

"Since this seems to be the last joint session before the election, I think by design government has chosen not to talk about corruption and other factors about inflation and price rise, which is affecting every household. Petrol and diesel prices are constantly going up," he said.

Attacking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the BJP leader said, "The prime minister is an economist and the economic growth has shrunk to 5 per cent from 9 per cent. Unfortunately, the President has not touched upon it (in his speech)."

Rudy said, "The President did not address the basic issues of corruption and price rise that the country is facing today. The problem of corruption was also avoided by him. For example the recent allegation of corruption in AgustaWestland helicopter deal was not there."

When pointed out that issues like security for women and food security were mentioned in the address, Rudy said, "These proposals have been talked about since many years now, there is nothing new in it. But the current problem of economic scenario, the slide in GDP growth and corruption issue were not touched."

As it is an election year, the real issues that are confronting the nation like price rise were not addressed, he charged.

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha MP Ajay Kumar said the President's speech was not something that would inspire.

The speech was "very disappointing" because he did not discuss corruption and price rise, he said. "Though he focused a little on UIDAI, cash transfer and railway expansion, I would say it was an old speech," he said.

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