Accuses UPA-II Govt of "irresponsible spending rather than real economic expansion"

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday launched a direct offensive against Finance Minister P Chidambaram, blaming him for bringing economic growth down to 4.5 per cent in the October-December quarter.

Price rise, unemployment

Firing 18 questions at Chidambaram on price rise, unemployment and economic growth at a press conference here, senior BJP leader and former Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said this was seventh consecutive quarter in which growth had been below 5 per cent, and accused the Minister of “running the economy to the ground.”

He said Chidambaram had been a Finance Minister three times in his political life and “was fortunate enough to have inherited a sound economic legacy each time.”

He claimed that the high economic growth rate witnessed in the first four years of UPA-I (2004-2007) was largely on account of measures initiated by the NDA Government.

“You (Chidambaram) really harvested what was sown by us,” he said.

GDP growth

Accusing the UPA-II Government of “irresponsible Government spending rather than real economic expansion,” Sinha said the GDP growth rate registered a mere 4.7 per cent in October-December quarter of 2013-14, with manufacturing and mining registering falling 1.9 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively. He also took a dig at Chidambaram’s announcement that he would not be contesting the elections.

“Is it a fact that the markets celebrated your announcement….that on March 19, 2014, when you made this announcement, the Sensex shot up by 125 points, the forex market was also delighted and the rupee has strengthened considerably against the dollar since then,” he said.

BJP’s economic offensive against the Congress is being seen as a build-up to the release of its election manifesto, which is likely to be released this week.

According to reports, the party is also working on a ‘vision’ document for the economy, with key inputs from Arvind Panagariya, Columbia University Professor; Bibek Debroy, Member, Centre for Policy Research; among others.

Interestingly, both Sinha and Chidambaram are not contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and are promoting their sons — Jayant Sinha and Karthi Chidambaram — from their constituencies, Hazaribagh in Jharkhand and Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.

(This article was published on March 30, 2014)
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