The Opposition parties on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that “pessimists are exaggerating the slowdown”.

Making fun of the speech the Prime Minister gave on Wednesday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter: “In other news Iceberg to Titanic: Reports of disaster exaggerated by pessimists.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury termed the speech as “jumalanomics.”

Modi changed the Gross Value Added projection of the Reserve Bank of India to 7.7 per cent from 6.7 per cent, he said, adding: “How do you trust the data he throws around?”

Yechury also said the economy hasn’t slowed down for just one quarter as stated by the PM, but it has been going down for six quarters now. “The PM says demonetisation was a success. I wonder what is the parameter. If bringing the economy to a halt is the parameter, then yes, it was a success.”

He also asked Modi to tell the country about his promise of providing 10 crore jobs in five years. “While farmers get shot for demanding their rightful due, crony capitalists get away with loan waivers,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, whose article on the nation’s economy created a controversy recently, shared stage with Congress leader Manish Tewari and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a function to release Tewari’s book titled Tiding of Troubled Times .

Sinha today attacked the Centre for creating “Raid Raj” and introducing “terror” of income tax and other agencies. He is past caring about whether his criticism of the economy will invite disciplinary action against him, he said.

To a question on whether he feared being expelled, Sinha said: “If I am expelled for criticising their handling of the economy, it will be the best day in my life.

“I said in my article, and I am repeating here, that I am expressing the sentiment that was shared by a large number of people in the BJP. They are afraid of saying it aloud. People are scared that their tickets would be cut.”

At this point, Kejriwal intervened and said the threat of tickets being cut could also mean that the Centre, which was terrorising Opposition leaders using agencies such as the CBI and the Income Tax Department, could promptly open files again BJP’s cadres, too.

‘Effective debate’

Sinha added: “The very fact that some one (PM) made a speech about the economy for one-and-a-half hours means that I have started an effective debate on the subject and I am happy. I am not scared about the repercussions.”

Kejriwal also talked about the growing number of job losses, distress in industries and the discontent that is growing because of the economic slowdown.

Talking to reporters on Thursday, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Modi has become the symbol of pessimism and mismanagement in the country. “Trade, business, agriculture, shopkeepers, farmers — everybody is in serious distress, except for the Prime Minister himself,” he added.

‘Imaginary’ economy

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and AAP leader Manish Sisodia said the PM is patting himself on the back like a doctor who says the operation was successful but the patient had died. “The PM tried to present an economic picture before the nation, but it was more imaginary with little facts. He has either lied about the economic crisis or has presented facts wrongly,” he told reporters here.