Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said Rahul Gandhi must continue as the All India Congress Committee president since there was no alternative at this juncture.

“He [Mr. Gandhi] should continue in the post as the party needs him in this situation. I am sure he will continue to lead the party,” he told reporters here.

Responding to questions on the country’s economic growth under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who presented several budgets as State Finance Minister in his decades-long political career, maintained that the country’s economic growth had slumped drastically and growth was said to be the lowest in the last 45 years. “This has resulted in an unemployment problem, besides the collapse of the rupee value,” he said.

He alleged that the five-year rule of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had messed up the economy and wondered why people still chanted the ‘Modi mantra’ in spite of the slow economic development.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the economy could not be resurrected under the BJP-led government since it had failed in its previous regime. “Instead of focussing on development issues, the BJP leaders made speeches, told lies and raised emotional issues to mislead the people,” he charged.

He alleged that BJP leaders were successful in making the people believe in their “dramas” and “lies.” “The people got misled by it and the media should also take the blame for what happened,” he said.

The former Chief Minister said the Pulwama attack was the fallout of intelligence failure and the government covered up its lapses on national security. “We get the flak if we question their lapses. Being a citizen of this country, I have the right to speak on my country’s economy and lapses. They cannot stop me,” he said.

The former Chief Minister further said, “The people get angry with us if we tell the truth. We are in a predicament.”
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