Saying that India was fed up of ‘Modinomics’ and ‘Jaitleynomics’, the Congress on Thursday accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of not outlining concrete measures to tackle economic slowdown and insulting senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.
“The Finance Minister (Jaitley), in his usual style, tried to escape the blame game, shift goal posts, escape responsibilities, and deny accoutability. All he did was insult his predecessor and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha by passing remarks that should be unacceptable in political life,” Congress Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.
The Congress reaction came soon after Jaitley’s remarks at a book release function where the Finance Minister took digs at Sinha and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who too is a former Union Finance Minister.
Sinha ruffled many feathers with his strong critique of the state of Indian economy, saying it was headed for a “hard landing”.
In an article published in The Indian Express on Wednesday, Sinha said private investment had shrunk “as never before in two decades” while industrial production had all but collapsed.
Surjewala said: “Unless effective measures are taken to set the economy’s course right, Jaitley will himself have the distinction and luxury of being a former Finance Minister. He did not utter a word on jobs.
“May we again ask, on the behalf of the country, Mr Jaitley, where are the jobs? You promised two crore jobs a year.”
The Congress leader said the Finance Minister did not utter a word on inflation and did not explain as to why the Gross Domestic Product has gone down in the last six quarters.
“The Finance Minister did not answer why the exports share in the GDP is at a 14-year low? He did not tell why PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) in manufacturing sector is at eight-year low and credit growth lowest in the last 63 years?
“He (Jaitley) also did not tell the ‘Modi-made disaster of demonetisation’ has hurt the economy — shaving off two per cent of the GDP. He did not tell us how a poorly implemented Goods and Services Tax is wrecking havoc on the economy and hurting small businesses,” Surjewala said.
Taking a dig at Modi and Jaitley, the Congress leader said they too will have the luxury of becoming former Prime Minister and Finance Minister respectively until course correction in economy was made.
The Congress leader said the entire country was extremely concerned about the economic downturn and was waiting to hear from both on measures for revival of the economy.
“But the Finance Minister’s address was marked by arrogance and a lot of ‘jumlas’,” he said.
Under attack from within and rivals, Jaitley hit back at Yashwant Sinha on Thursday and called him a “job applicant at 80”. He said “acting in tandem” with Congress leader P. Chidambaram would not change facts (on economy).
The Finance Minister also referred to attacks by Sinha and Chidambaram on each other in the past and wondered about the newfound bonhomie between the two.