A verbal duel broke out between the BJP and the Congress on Monday after finance minister P Chidambaram described BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s claims over economic growth as a “fake encounter of facts”.
The BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad countered the finance minister and defended Modi saying, “Mr Chidambaram, you are being economical with truth. Your statement is a copybook fake encounter with facts.”
Prasad defended Modi’s claim that when the BJP-led NDA came to power in 1998, the growth rate was 4.8 per cent and when it demitted office in 2004, it was 8.4 per cent, while the UPA’s nine years in office has seen the economic growth dip to a low of 5 per cent from the high rate of growth left behind by the NDA.
He said Chidambaram as well as prime minister Manmohan Singh take shelter behind averages when they are confronted with the stark fact of declining growth under the UPA watch. The ‘economist’ prime minister has ruined the economy in contrast to the performance of the Vajpayee government.
Prasad said that during the NDA government, growth in infrastructure was solid and it contrasts with the low performance of the UPA. “Growth in infrastructure is ideology-neutral,” he claimed.
He pointed out that good economy goes with good politics, and good politics in turn is based on good governance. He criticised the UPA, Chidambaram and the ‘economist’ prime minister for the bad governance which brought low economic growth.
“It does not behove the finance minister to employ despicable terms,” Prasad said, expressing his string disapproval of Chidambaram’s language against Modi. “We have laid the foundation for good governance,” he said recalling the NDA’s time in office.
It seems that Congress leaders are going to react to each and every word that Modi utters, and that the BJP will hit back with all the force at its command. Modi is at the centre of the battle between the two major national parties in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.