In a comeback to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s attack on him over the bank crisis, former prime minister Manmohan said that the Government is “obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponents” instead of finding solutions.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai in the run-up to the Maharashtra Assembly elections on October 21, Singh said, “I have just seen the statements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. I won’t like to comment on that statement, but before one can fix the economy, one needs a correct diagnosis of its ailments and their causes. The government is obsessed with trying to fix blame on its opponent, thus it is unable to find a solution that will ensure the revival of economy.”

While terming the PMC Bank fraud case as “unfortunate”, the former PM appealed to the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Finance Minister to look into the matter and resolve the grievances of the affected 16 lakh people.

He further asked the Centre, the RBI and the government of Maharashtra to put their heads together and provide a credible, pragmatic and effective solution to the case.

The Congress leader’s remarks come after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the Public Sector Banks had their worst time during economists Manmohan Singh and Raghuram Rajan’s time.

Sitharaman is currently at a tough spot mitigating the fiscal deficit in the country.

Turning the tables on finance ministry’s critics and reputed economists, Sithatraman pointed at a massive amount of bad loans in state-run banks when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power. She held Manmohan Singh and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan responsible for putting public sector banks (PSBs) through the “worst phase.”

Singh on Thursday said the Government can’t claim that the fault lies with the UPA always.

“When I was in office what happened did happen. There were some weaknesses. But you can’t claim that the fault lies with the UPA always. You have been in office for five years. Mainly passing the buck to UPA is not enough,” Dr Manmohan Singh was quoted as saying by NDTV.

He further said that to become a $5-trillion economy by 2024, India would require a growth rate of 10-12 per cent per annum. “What’s happening in BJP regime is that the government is faced with the prospect of a declining rate of growth year after year,” he said.

Quoting an IMF statement that said that India’s growth rate during the current fiscal year will be only 6.1 per cent as against 7.3 per cent mentioned some months ago, Singh stated that he has no hope of economy reaching the target of $5-trillion by 2024.

Further criticising the Modi government, Singh said that the much-advertised double engine model of governance on which the BJP seeks votes has “utterly failed”. He claimed that Maharashtra has faced some of the worst effects of economic slowdown, with the manufacturing growth rate of the state declining for the fourth consecutive year.

On the abrogation of Article 370, he said the Congress party voted in favour of the bill to and not against it. “We believe Article 370 is a temporary measure but if a change has to be brought, it should be with the goodwill of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The manner in which it was implemented is what we opposed,” Singh said.