Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday attacked the Narendra Modi government over the state of the economy and said managing headlines in the media will not help the country.

In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming event in Houston, Texas, Gandhi in a tweet said: “Sponsored events in foreign countries do not bring investors. Investors have lost faith. Economic investment has lost ground.”

Modi is scheduled to address the Indian diaspora in Houston at the “Howdy Modi” event, which will be hosted by Houston-based non-profit organisation Texas India Forum. So far, more than 50,000 Indian-Americans have registered for the September 22 event. United States President Donald Trump and other American politicians are expected to participate in the event. This will be the first time an American president addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US.

“Creating a media blitz by repeating $5 trillion everyday and managing headlines will not trigger economic reforms,” the Congress leader said.

Vadra shared a news report which said international money managers have sold $4.5 billion of Indian shares since June.

“The BJP government is not accepting the truth,” she said. “This economic slowdown is a speed breaker in the path of becoming an economic superpower. Without corrective measures, all the show-off is worthless.”

Kapil Sibal says ‘Howdy Modi’ an external extravaganza

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Tuesday called Modi’s event in Houston an “external extravaganza” and said such events should instead be organised in India.

“If ‘Howdy Modi’ is being held out of India then it should take place here as well,” Sibal told ANI. “Modi should go to the rural areas of this country and have an event like ‘Howdy Modi’ and the people of India will tell him what they are facing.”

The event was merely for publicity, he said, adding that it would not lead to any prosperity for India. “I hope he organises such events here but he holds these external extravaganzas for both internal and external consumption,” Sibal added. “But I think extravaganzas don’t result in prosperity for the ordinary people of this country, such things are okay for publicity.”

Sibal also told the news agency that the Bharatiya Janata Party government had destroyed the future of the Indian economy.

“I am really surprised because the first thing that the government must do is to recognise where the problem lies,” Sibal said. “Unless you do that, you’ll not be able to find a solution.”

The former Union minister blamed the status of the economy on the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation exercise in 2016. “The economy was well on its way back with 7% to 8% growth pattern until demonetisation happened,” Sibal said. “Demonetisation didn’t allow cash transactions to take place, especially in the informal and rural sector.”

India’s economic growth rate had slipped to 5% in the April-June quarter, the lowest in over six years. In the last few months, core sectors such as automobiles and manufacturing have witnessed a progressive slowdown in growth due to weakened consumer demand and dearth of investments.

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