PM's dig on BJP: 'Jo garajte hain, wo baraste nahin'
A combative Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha for trying to belittle United Progressive Alliance government's achievements saying the party will fail at the hustings next year like it did in 2004 and 2009.
In an apparent reference to Narendra Modi's attack on Congress as "termites" and him as a "night watchman" at the BJP National Council meeting in Delhi on Sunday, he said the party hurled the "choicest abuses" against the Congress leadership and made it clear he would not reply to them in "that language".
Winding up the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President's address, Singh spoke at length on various issues including economy, keeping India's options open on the US resolution against Sri Lankan at the UNHCR vote, ties with Pakistan and the situation in Maldives.
He expressed confidence that India's slow down in economy will not persist and that the country will return to the growth rate of 7-8 per cent in next two years.
Reserving his reposte for BJP, the prime minister said, "You used choicest abuses against us. It is not my intention to reply in that language because our performance is the best judge."
Employing Urdu and Hindi couplets and proverb deftly, the usually-soft spoken Singh took pot shots at L K Advani, saying the BJP lost the 2004 polls after its "India Shining" campaign and faced defeat against in 2009 when they pitted "iron man" against the "lamb that Manmohan Singh is".
"I am confident that the people will again elect us in the next elections based on our performance," the prime minister said amidst repeated thumping of desks by the treasury benches.
"Jo garajte hain, woh baraste nahi (Thunderous clouds do not bring showers)," he said taking a dig at BJP's use of strong words of criticism.
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Image: PM Manmohan Singh expressed confidence that India will return to the growth rate of 7-8 per cent in next two years.
'People will again elect us based on our performance'
Singh gave a comparative analysis of the performance of his government and previous NDA to highlight that the country has progressed much better under UPA in all sectors, like agriculture and manufacturing.
He noted that economic growth had slowed down in 2012-13, because of difficult global situation and expressed confidence that the slowdown will not persist and the country will return to high growth rate of 7-8 per cent in next two years.
In his 45-minute speech, Singh noted that the average economic growth rate of the country in nine years of UPA rule was 7.9 per cent, while that of the six years of NDA rule recorded a GDP growth of 6 per cent.
He said while the current slowdown in industrial growth remains a concern, his government will continue to focus on inclusive growth and would need more investments. There was a need for further efforts to boost growth, he said, adding "Our growth rate is impressive but we are not satisfied ... We need to do a lot more".
He also compared the industrial growth rate saying while the average growth for past nine years was 8.5 per cent, in the NDA regime it was 5.6 per cent for six years.
The prime minister also said in the UPA period, poverty declined at 2 per cent per annum, while in preceding period the rate was no more than 0.8 per cent.
"Inequality is not increasing ... Even BIMARU states have also done much better in UPA period than previous period," Singh said, adding that the country has fared much better in areas of higher education, skill development and environment protection.
Sngh further said that the Current Account Deficit is "substantially higher than we would like it to be".
He further said the minimum wages in agriculture in the 11th plan was 6.3 per cent, while in previous it was no more than 1.1 per cent.
Image: NDA's India Shining campaign was a disaster, says Dr Singh