GDP debate takes 'violent turn' as Cong, BJP fight over growth

P Chidambaram“The average for the six year period was 6.0 per cent and the average for the last five years was 5.9 per cent,” Chidambaram said

Fake encounters and terrorism got mixed up with GDP growth Monday as the Congress and the BJP traded barbs over how the economy had fared under the NDA and the UPA.

The spat followed Sunday's criticism by the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, that growth had fallen to 4.8 per cent under the UPA from 8.4 per cent under the NDA.

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Finance Minister P Chidambaram sought to puncture Modi's claim, pointing out that average annual growth during UPA 1 and 2 has been better than that under the NDA.

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"The average for the six year period was 6.0 per cent and the average for the last five years was 5.9 per cent," Chidambaram said in a statement, referring to the NDA's rule from 1998 to 2004. "If there was a golden period of growth, it was the five-year period under UPA 1."

He said the average growth rate during UPA 1 was 8.4 per cent, and it was 7.3 per cent for the first four years of UPA 2. "I wonder why Shri Narendra Modi should stage a fake encounter with facts," Chidambaram added.

The BJP hit back with former finance minister Yashwant Sinha faulting Chidambaram for invoking average growth rates.

"Chidambaram is doing terrorism with facts. He is only comparing on averages. This is only jugglery of figures," Sinha responded. "They are comparing nine years' average with the five years' average of the NDA. Can Chidambaram explain why the growth rate today is 4.8 per cent?" he retorted, adding that when the NDA left office, it was 8.6 per cent.

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