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Cong lash at Modi economy slight

New Delhi, June 16: The Congress has objected to Prime Minister Narendra Modi blaming the Manmohan Singh government for the state of the economy which he says would need a “bitter pill” to set right.

Congress leaders claimed Modi had neither the ability nor the intention to provide relief to the people and was therefore looking for excuses to launch measures that would put a burden on the common citizen.

“We know he sold dreams to the people to garner votes. He promised achchhe din (good days). Winning votes by making false promises is easier than delivering. He has already started talking of tough measures,” Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said.

Congress leaders accept the need for tough decisions but say they don’t want the nation to be misled about the reasons. They cite how the BJP behaved when the prices of petroleum products increased, and say the government should at least now acknowledge that the UPA did a good job with the economy.

In Goa on Saturday night, Modi had sounded a warning about having to take “harsh measures” to revive the economy even if it caused a “dent” in his popularity for a while.

He had accused the previous government of leaving “nothing behind” and suggested the country’s “financial health has hit rock bottom”.

Gohil said the Prime Minister should not seek excuses for his own inabilities and described his allegation against the Manmohan government as uncalled for and contrary to facts.

“We came to power in 1991 when the country had to mortgage gold. We didn’t cry about the previous regime’s failures and instead showed how to revive the economy,” he said, reeling off figures to contest the claim that the Congress had ruined the economy.

The reference was to a period when Manmohan, as finance minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government, unleashed the economic reforms that transformed growth rates.

Gohil quoted from the 2012-13 Socio-Economic Review prepared by the Gujarat government, then headed by Modi.

“India performed much better during the global recession and this is acknowledged by the Modi government’s own report,” he said.

“It said, ‘Weaknesses in the major developed economies are at the root of the continued gloomy global economic environment and several European economies are already in recession. In fact, countries like India, China and Brazil have largely been responsible for stroking the engine of global economy during the year 2012’. Modi cannot deny this now.”

Gohil said the average growth rate during the Vajpayee government’s rule was 5.9 and that during UPA rule was 7.6.

“Despite the slowdown and the global crisis, the economy grew to $2 trillion, four times what it was in 2004 when the NDA left,” he said.

“Foreign reserves grew by 300 per cent. The per capita income rose from Rs 24,000 in 2004 to Rs 69,000 under the UPA. Exports went up from $63 billion to $313 billion. Power generation, FDI inflows, education loan… (all) showed drastic improvement…. It is clear we left (behind) a very healthy economy.”

Asked why the people had rejected the UPA then, Gohil said: “There are times when lies triumph over the truth. We accept we could not communicate our achievements to the people and the BJP’s marketing was excellent.”

Asked how marketing could help if the product was bad, Gohil said: “No matter how bad and bakwas (bogus) the product is, good marketing can sell it. The BJP’s Prime Minister is the best example of that.”