BJP chief takes dig at Montek on inflation

June 1st, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Sunday criticised Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia for advising against sacrificing development to contain inflation.` Referring to the soaring inflation rate, which touched a new high of 8.1 percent for the week ended May 17, Singh told the party’s national executive meeting here that the Congress-led government was making “peculiar and painful” statements instead of containing rising prices.

“Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia says that development cannot be sacrificed for the sake of inflation. Didn’t development take place when the NDA (National Democratic Alliance led by BJP) was in power?” he asked.

“I would like to ask not only Ahluwalia but learned economist Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if development is possible only by crushing common men under the burden of inflation,” Singh said.

“Can’t these experts see an alternative model of development? Did not development take place in the tenure of the NDA? Was not inflation under control? Is this the Congress party which came to power on the claim of being with the common man?” Singh asked.

Ahluwalia on the sidelines of an event here May 14 told reporters: “It is important to control inflation while keeping growth at eight percent. High inflation will kill the medium-term growth process.”

“We are not sacrificing growth to control inflation… We consistently said the growth target laid by government is 8-8.5 percent. I will not be surprised if it is at the lower end of the range,” he added.

The BJP president said the NDA government kept inflation under control despite global sanctions in the wake of the 1998 nuclear tests and challenges arising out of the Kargil conflict with Pakistan in 1999.

“Does the government today have to face an international scenario that is worse than facing aggression and international sanctions? The government is merely making excuses to cover up their incapability in controlling inflation,” said Singh.

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