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PM 'blaming' Pranab for economic slowdown: BJP

Last updated on: July 6, 2012 20:36 IST

Image: Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday alleged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is "directly and openly" trying to put all the blame for the economic slowdown on former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and charged that he was equally responsible for the state of affairs.

"The Prime Minister was a full partner and complicit in all that P Chidambaram (FM in UPA-I government) and Pranab Mukherjee did. And therefore, it is not open to the Prime Minister today to distance himself from those decision and put the blame on them," BJP leader and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said.

In an interview to a newspaper, Singh, who now holds the Finance portfolio after Mukherjee quit to contest the presidential election, has said he will work towards making India a more business-friendly place, cut-down infructous procedures and cut down fiscal deficit.


PM 'blaming' Pranab for economic slowdown: BJP

Image: Pranab Mukherjee.
Photographs: Reuters.

"What is most laughable about the interview is that the Prime Minister is distancing himself from Pranab Mukherjee. He says there will be clarity in all tax matters. Who brought about the confusion in tax matters? A Finance Minister meets his Prime Minister four to five times during the budget preparation. The PM goes through every word of the FM's budget speech," Sinha said.

Alleging that Singh himself is to be blamed for the bottlenecks in policy implementation, the former Finance Minister said the Prime Minister is "directly and openly blaming Pranab Mukherjee though he was his seniormost colleague".

"It is a statement of defeat, of frustration, of a dark future," Sinha said about Singh's words on the economic woes facing the country, adding "he is an under-rated politician and an over-rated economist."


PM 'blaming' Pranab for economic slowdown: BJP

Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

BJP said Pranab Mukherjee could not have gone ahead on contentious issues like GAAR and retrospective taxation (like in the case of Vodafone) without consulting Singh and if he did what was the PM doing all along.

Sinha, who was full of sarcasm for Manmohan Singh, said he wished to congratulate the Prime Minister for "opening his mouth" as the country was looking forward to his views since he took over the Finance portfolio.

BJP also made light of the new expectations in some sections that with Singh at the helm of the Finance Ministry the economy will improve.

"Singh is likely to keep this portfolio till September. Though India's growth story is not yet over, three months is too short a time for anybody to turn around the economy," Sinha said.


PM 'blaming' Pranab for economic slowdown: BJP

Photographs: Reuters.

The main opposition was also not impressed with Singh attributing some of the present economic problems on the erstwhile NDA government.

"The Prime Minister has said there were a lot of things the previous government did which we had to undo. No Prime Minister can look for consensus with the opposition if he starts with this premise.... They are not seeing the problem, how will they solve them? The Prime Minister is living in denial even today," Sinha said.

Quoting the PM, BJP sought to know if legislation is not the bottleneck to economic growth, then what is preventing the government from taking executive action.

"Singh is talking as if he is the chief consultant to the government of India," Sinha said, adding it was not open to the PM to tell the world how this or that should be done.

BJP also maintained the PM cannot maintain a high level of integrity and allow a sea of corruption to prevail around him.

Tags: BJP , Sinha , NDA , India
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