Alleging a scam in the sale of public sector Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the Congress on Wednesday claimed the BJP government was evading parliamentary oversight to sell navratna companies in the garb of strategic disinvestment.
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera asked the BJP government as to what was the allurement for "surreptitiously selling out" or "weakening" public-sector profit-making companies.
He also accused the BJP and the RSS of trying to divert people's attention to evade the "real issue" of economic slowdown "The sale of BPCL is clearly a scam. Whom does the government want to benefit, by selling out a profit-making company like BPCL for Rs 68,000 crore while a loss-making company Essar is sold for much higher," he asked.
"Now, there's talk of strategic disinvestment in the garb of which a conspiracy is being hatched to rob the profit making companies in the public sector. So, this is, in a way, a very surreptitious way to bring BPCL and other such PSUs away from Parliament scrutiny and sell them off. You do not want any parliament oversight on your action, why? Khera said.
“Why are you afraid of Parliament of India? On any such important decision, either you take the ordinance route or you do it surreptitiously. I think this government has broken all records in bringing ordinances. You want to bypass Parliament," he added.
He also alleged that the government is "weakening" another public sector unit, Container Corporation, which was till now a profit-making company.
"The Director General of Foreign Trade is not allowing this company to take profits. It is being weakened, so it can also be sold later. The government is weakening companies and attacking jobs," he said.
The Congress leader accused the government of evading parliamentary scrutiny in the sale of such companies after it repealed a number of archaic acts including the Burmah Shell Company Act that required parliamentary approval in the sale of BPCL.
Taking a swipe, Khera said while the Congress had a noted economist in Manmohan Singh, the BJP government has RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat who "has claimed there is no recession in the country and the issue of economic slowdown should not be discussed".
"Instead of addressing the issue at hand, which is tremendous economic slowdown, the government is trying its best to ensure that there are no discussions on slowdown. Nobody talks about slowdown. Let us divert attention of the country from actual issue facing us which is unemployment, which is the bad health of the economy," he alleged.
His remarks came a day after Bhagwat said that "too much discussion" about the "so-called" economic slowdown is unwarranted as it makes businesses and people wary and leads to decline in economic activity.
Khera said "adhocism cannot be the cornerstone of your policies", especially when it comes to economy because "people want to have faith in the institutions, in the rules, announcements, the budget and the declarations made by the government".
Referring to the proposed sale of Air India, he alleged the government said there are no buyers as it showed huge accumulated losses, but when it comes to profit-making companies, "you want to sell them to your friends, who, I don't know, must have funded your election".