Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has come out all guns blazing against the BJP-led government, saying the national security has taken a massive hit under the Modi regime, adding the internal security in Jammu and Kashmir has also "deteriorated rapidly".
In an interview to English daily Hindustan Times, Singh said that in the past 70 years, there had never been a government which hid behind the valour of armed forces. "Such attempts to politicize our forces are shameful and unacceptable," he said.
Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has often come under trenchant criticism from Modi, who says his predecessor led a weak government, lacking the determination to pay Pakistan in the same coin.
Rubbishing such claims, Singh said: "Our armed forces were always given a free hand to operationally respond to every threat. Multiple surgical strikes took place during our tenure too."
"For us, military operations were meant for strategic deterrence and giving a befitting reply to anti-India forces and not to be used for vote garnering exercises," the two-time prime minister said.
Reflecting on the failure of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST), Singh said rural distress or lack of jobs weren't interchangeable with the issue of national security.
"BJP’s political distress emanates from its failed track record. BJP is searching for new narratives every day. This reflects the bankruptcy of a vision for the country," he said.
Speaking about the formal entry of Priyanka Gandhi into active politics, Singh said her understanding of grassroots issues "and the honest desire to redress people’s pain have always endeared her to the masses."
"She has a very challenging assignment right now in Uttar Pradesh," he said.