New Delhi, Dec 2: Responding to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s remarks on India’s economic growth, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah on Saturday said that they need not calculate their average presently. Shah said that they will do the same in 2019, referring to the General assembly elections set in that year.
Shah was speaking at a public event hosted by a television channel when he responded to the former prime minister’s comment where Singh said, ‘ to equal the UPA’s 10 year average, the economy will have to grow at 10.6% in the fifth year’. The BJP president said they still have two years to calculate their average, as it is their fifth year.
Although Singh welcomed the 6.3% GDP growth rate in the July-September, he also said it was too early to conclude that the economic slowdown has reversed. “Some economists believe that the CSO which released the figures, has not adequately captured the impact of demonetisation and GST on the informal sector that accounts for about 30 per cent of the economy,” said the former prime minister.
Speaking at the event, Shah also talked about the BJP’s target for the Gujarat Assembly Elections. On being asked if the target of winning over 150 seats in the state not an overestimation, Shah said, ” Since our win in 2014, we have been able to secure massive wins in all major states of the country. Be it Uttar Pradesh or Uttarakhand. There have been no decline in BJP’s popularity even after the win and if our party can succeed to repeat this track record, we should win at least 165 seats in the Gujarat polls.”
Shah also said that the forces of anti-incumbency in Gujarat are weak and as people have chosen the BJP for the last 22 years, there is no scope for other party to come to power in 2017.
Hitting the Congress for its alliance with the Patidar and other communities, Shah said Congress lacks youth leaders and hence have ‘outsourced’ their leadership to divide votes on the basis of caste and communalism. “Congress have always tried to play casteist-communal politics in Gujarat, but the state will not come under such influences and will instead support Narendra Modi’s development agenda,” Shah said.
On being asked what is his response to Congress’s slogan against the BJP government in Gujarat ‘Development has gone insane’, Shah said after checking ground realities, even the Congress have stopped saying that. By the time they based their sloganeering on data presented by some NGO, they kept saying that. But now they are in Gujarat and have seen development and hence do not use that slogan anymore, he said.
Shah in the programme also took dig at the Congress’s Bofors scam and said Gujarat is a state which is running on good finances, courtesy of NITI Aayog and the Reserve Bank of India.
The BJP president responding to a query if he felt that the agenda of development has been buried under the agenda of being a ‘bigger Hindu’ or ‘smaller Hindu’, Shah said it was never brought up by his party. He said Rahul Gandhi has all the right the visit temples, but he should do that even after polls.
In the battle for Gujarat, polling for which will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14, Congress and the BJP will face off each other. The state which shows lack of anti-incumbency forces have undergone immense political changes recently. One of the pivotal state for the Congress to prove its mantle, especially after the loss in Uttar Pradesh Assembly and local body elections, both the parties have tried to put their best face at the forefront.
The Gujarat assembly election results will be declared on December 18.