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Congress, BJP spar on growth figures

‘Nothing can be further from the truth... I wonder why Narendra Modi should stage a fake encounter with facts. Ultimately, facts will prevail,’ said the finance minister.

Chidambaram said that the average growth rate for the six year period (under Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from 1998-99 to 2003-04) was 6.0 per cent and the average for the last five years (1999-2000 to 2003-04) was 5.9 per cent.

The finance minister also said the average growth rate during the Congress-led UPA’s first term was 8.4 per cent and 7.3 per cent during the first four years of UPA-II. ‘The two worst years since the turn of the century were 2000-01 (4.3 per cent) and 2002-03 (4 per cent),’ said Chidambaram.

The BJP, however, accused Chidambaram of indulging in statistical jugglery about his government’s achievements. ‘Chidambaram is not only factually incorrect but is also being economical with the truth,’ said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

 The BJP maintained that when the NDA came to power in 1998 the growth rate was 4.8 per cent but when it demitted office it was 8.5 per cent. The party also cited the Economic Survey of 2004-05 to argue that Chidambaram himself acknowledged this. ‘... the economy has registered a growth rate of 8.5 per cent in 2003-04, the highest ever except in 1975-76 and 1988-89, ‘ Prasad  quoted from the Economic Survey.

The main Opposition claimed that this rate of growth was achieved by the Vajpayee government despite extreme adversity. ‘It is well known that there was international sanction by nearly all the countries of the world in the wake of Pokhran II nuclear explosion. There was a Kargil War, the explosive East Asian crisis in the year 1999-2000, ‘ said the BJP leader.

Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha alleged that Chidambaram is comparing the average growth during NDA and UPA rule since 2004 as it cannot compete on year-to-year basis with the NDA regime. ‘They are comparing nine years average with five years average of NDA. Chidambaram is doing terrorism with facts,’ said Sinha.
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