Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday hit back at senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha, who had questioned the track record of the current finance minister.
“Chidambaram will have to be reborn again to match my record in the Finance Ministry,” Mr. Sinha had said on Monday.
In a sharp retort, Mr. Chidambaram today shot back saying, “Am I fool to match his record? His record is 4.2- 4.3 (% of GDP)”.
Mr. Sinha was the Finance Minister of India between 1998 and 2002 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP-led government.
This is not the first time the two senior politicians have engaged in a war of words. Last week Mr Chidambaram had called Mr. Sinha, the “worst” finance minister ever. Mr. Sinha in response slammed the current finance minister for leaving the economy in a “worse crisis than even the earlier crisis in 1991 and 1998”.
“It will be a major challenge for the new government to deal with it when it assumes office,” Mr. Sinha had said.
The country’s economy grew at a decade-low 5 per cent in 2012-13 and is expected to have fared at an even lower rate in the fiscal gone by.
“The two worst years since the turn of the century were 2000-01 (4.3 per cent) and 2002-03 (4 per cent),” Mr. Chidambaram had earlier said while commenting on the growth rate during the six years of BJP’s national alliance rule
“The average for the six year period (under the BJP-led government from 1998-99 to 2003-04) was 6.0 per cent and the average for the last five years (1999-2000 to 2003-04) was 5.9 per cent,” Mr. Chidambaram had said.
In contrast, the average growth rate during Congress-led UPA’s first term was 8.4 per cent and 7.3 per cent during the first four years of UPA-II, he had added.