Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre of mishandling the crisis on the border with China and the coronavirus pandemic.

“India has been hit by a terrible economic crisis, a pandemic of huge proportions and, now by a full-blown crisis on the borders with China,” Gandhi said in her opening remarks at the Congress Working Committee meeting. “Much of each crisis is attributable to the mismanagement of the BJP-led NDA government and the wrong policies pursued by it. The cumulative effect is widespread misery, fear, and danger to the security and territorial integrity of the country.”

On the economic slowdown, Gandhi said that the Narendra Modi-led administration should announce a “massive fiscal stimulus”, give money directly to the poor, protect and nurture Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises and stimulate demand. She further criticised the Centre’s relief package and termed it hollow as it “...had a fiscal component of less than 1 per cent of GDP”.

The Congress chief said the administration had “added insult to injury” by increasing petrol and diesel prices for 17 straight days at a time when global crude oil rates have dipped. “The result is that a sliding economy is now hurtling toward a recession for the first time in 42 years,” she said. “I am afraid there will be high unemployment, falling incomes and wages, and lower investment. Recovery is likely to take a long time, and that too only if government corrects its course and adopts sound economic policies.”

In her statement, Gandhi pointed to what she described as “grave deficiencies” in India’s health infrastructure that has been exposed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. “The promised ‘peak’ is nowhere in sight,” she said. “The Centre has passed the buck to the state governments, but given them zero extra finances.... The mis-management of the pandemic will be recorded as one of the most disastrous failures of the Modi government.”

‘Full-blown crisis on the LAC with China’: Sonia Gandhi

Gandhi said it is an “undeniable fact” that several “brazen transgressions” have occurred along the Line of Actual Control between April and May. “...Chinese troops have committed brazen transgressions into out territory in Pangong Tso Lake area and the Galwan Valley, Ladakh,” the statement read. “True to it’s character, the government is in denial”. She also urged the Indian government to restore peace, calm and the status along the LAC.

During Tuesday’s meeting, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the crisis on the border must be handled firmly or else it may lead to a “serious situation”.

Tensions between India and China have escalated since the troops of the two nations came to blows during a confrontation along the Line of Actual Control last week. A controversy erupted last week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that no outsider was inside Indian territory in Ladakh nor had any border post of the Indian Army been captured during the clashes with Chinese troops. However, a clarification issued by Modi’s office claimed that attempts were being made to give a “mischievous interpretation” to his remarks and said his comments referred to the situation at the Line of Actual Control after Indian soldiers had foiled China’s intrusion.