New Delhi/Bandlapalli: Rejecting Government's claim of having brought a "transformation" in MNREGA, Congress on Tuesday attacked it for praising UPA's flagship rural job scheme in a "characteristic U-turn" and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was eroding the effectiveness of the welfare effort.
Leading the charge, Rahul Gandhi mocked Modi saying his government's praise is a "shining example" of PM's "political wisdom" while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleged that there was an attempt to "kill the soul and spirit" of MNREGA.
"After calling NREGA 'living monument of INC failure' Govt now hails it as cause of 'nat pride & celebration' !Shining eg of Modiji's pol wisdom", the Congress Vice President said in a tweet as NREGA completed 10 years today.
Gandhi's reference was to Prime's Minister snide remarks about the UPA flagship scheme during the Budget Session last year.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who along with Gandhi addressed a gathering Bandlapalli village in Andhra Pradesh today to mark the completion of ten years of MGNREGA, also trained his guns at the NDA government, alleging that Modi government wants to "kill the soul and spirit" of MGNREGA.
"Despite the enormous potential of MGNREGA as a social security programme, Prime Minister Modi does not like it. He has called MGNREGA as an epitome of Congress failure--a living proof of 60 years of Congress misrule.
"The Modi Government seeks to kill the soul and spirit of MGNREGA by withholding payments to states for MGNREGA works.
In 2014-15 alone, Government of India did not make payment of Rs 6,000 crores to states for already executed MGNREGA works.
"It is up to the people to mobilise their sources in support of the effectiveness of MGNREGA to convince the Modi Government to desist from the negative path of eroding the effectiveness of MGNREGA as an instrument of people centered development," Singh said.
AICC Communication Department Chief Randeep Surjewala accused the government of having dealt a "severe blow" to the scheme and listed a number of purported steps taken taken by Modi government to hammer home the charge that "Modi and his Government did everything possible to destroy MGNREGA".
"After having dealt a severe blow to one of the landmark Rights Based Legislation, that provided right to livelihood and employment and changed the rural landscape of the country like never before, the Narendra Modi led BJP Government has in a characteristic U-turn suddenly discovered the virtues of MGNREGA.
"Modi has come around from a position of criticising the Programme to celebrating it. Unfortunately, his actions of neglect speaker louder than his words," Surjewala said hours after the goverment reiterated its commitment to the scheme, claiming it released more funds for it than UPA governments and carried out a "transformation" in to benefit people more.