File photo: National spokesman of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.
Bhopal: Days after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue, the tallest in the world, was unveiled in Gujarat, the AAP Saturday said instead of installing such statues, the government should focus on key issues like poverty alleviation, improving education and health care.
Talking to PTI, national spokesman of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also wondered why there was a race among different states in the country to install giant statues of leaders and gods.
"After the installation of the world's tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has proposed to build a 151-metre tall statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. A sudden competition is taking place in the country on the issue," he said.
"Instead of installing such tall statues, the tax-payers' hard-earned money should be spent on ending poverty and unemployment, improving education and health care, which are major problems faced by the nation," he added.
The AAP leader cited an example of the 210-metre statue of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji's proposed to be built in the Arabian sea off Mumbai, and asked whether spending huge money on such projects was necessary when the country was grappling with several serious issues.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat.
"The country will achieve nothing from this kind of competition as tomorrow someone else may construct a 250-metre statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar or 300-metre statue of Maharana Pratap," Singh said.
When asked about the sexual harassment charges levelled against former Union minister M J Akbar's by some women journalists, the AAP leader said the BJP leader should be put behind bars.
"On the one hand BJP coined the slogan 'Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao', while on the other its leader is accused of sexually exploiting women. I am surprised how he is still in the party. It exposes the BJP's hollow claims. Though he has resigned from the cabinet, he should also quit his Rajya Sabha seat," Singh said.
When asked about AAP's poll prospects in Madhya Pradesh, he said his party has bright chances as the Congress was "not an alternative" to the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh.
"If AAP is voted to power, we will implement the Delhi government model in MP in sectors like power, water, health and education," he said.
"Due to the efficient management, the AAP government has brought down distribution losses in Delhi from nearly 43 per cent to nine per cent. It has successfully proved that it can provide electricity to people at cheap rates," he said.
The reforms introduced in the fields of education and health care were before the people to judge, he said adding, "Who could have though that government schools will have swimming pools, but we have done that in Delhi."
On the reports that the Centre was considering to invoking section 7 of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Act, Singh alleged, "The government is destroying various institutions."
He said by invoking section 7 of the RBI Act, the government wanted to "pressurise" the apex bank in its bid to benefit some businessmen "close to the Modi government".
"Invoking section 7 of RBI Act would end the 83-year-old autonomy of the RBI. Through this step, the Centre will direct the RBI to release funds to the banks so that they could compensate the deficit created due to huge loans given to big businessmen who are close to Modi government. This will push the country towards recession and bankruptcy," Singh alleged.
"Those who take small loans of Rs 2-5 lakh from banks have to mortgage their entire assets. But as the government fails to recover big loans from industrialists, such bad loans are recovered from people. The NPAs of big industrialists have gone up to Rs 10.25 lakh crore and section 7 has been invoked to compensate this," he said.
The AAP leader also termed the Rafale jet deal as a Rs 36,000-crore "scam".
"The government has not been disclosing the price of Rafale fighter jet because they have purchased a plane costing Rs 526 crore at an inflated price of Rs 1,670 crore each," he alleged.
He also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored SIT to probe into the Rafale deal.