The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday sought to draw a parallel between its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao, highlighting their similarities on “decisive leadership” to turn things around.
“I think that also answers the basic question which I raised when I mentioned 1991 India under Narasimha Rao or Gujarat under Modi and compared it with examples of what happened in the last few years in Delhi,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.
Jaitley, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said while speaking at the launch of a book, ‘ModiNomics.’ Modi was supposed to launch the book but he did not turn up for the event.
‘ModiNomics,’ written by Sameer Kochhar, analyses the economic policies of the Modi government that has delivered sustained high growth rates and, according to the author, have made Gujarat a favoured investment destination.
“For Vajpayee as a BJP prime minister to move ahead with reforms was relatively easier because it was a natural part of his party’s ideological thinking but for a man (Rao) who belonged to a party (Congress) which did believe in regulation to break the trend,” Jaitley said.
“When objective history is written, the 70s’ and 80s’ would be probably rated as the wasted opportunity and a good turning point came when Rao was the PM,” he said.
The latest book’s launch comes amid an ongoing banter between BJP leaders and finance minister P Chidambaram on the appropriate model of economic development.
Modi has shot back at the finance minister Chidambaram for his comments on the former’s knowledge about economics.
The Gujarat chief minister stated that the country was run with hard work and not from University of Harvard, a reference to the Congress leader’s education overseas.
In an interview to BBC, Chidambaram had said that the amount of economics that Modi knows can be written on the backside of a postal stamp.
Jaitley had retorted saying the finance minister thinks he is the “principal repository of all economic wisdom” even when the country’s growth story was being turned into a “nightmare”.
Chidambaram responded by saying that Jaitley has carefully avoided the other questions that the finance minister had raised.
“Why has Modi said nothing about the fiscal deficit, nothing about the current account deficit and nothing about monetary policy,” the minister said.
Chidambaram said he had further questions “why do Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat oppose goods and services tax (GST) and prevent a consensus? Why did Modi write to Prime Minister opposing the Food Security Act? If Indian-owned multi-brand retail will not destroy jobs, how will FDI in multi-brand retail destroy jobs?”