New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday said the prime ministerial candidate of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, is staging a “fake encounter with facts" while claiming about 8.4 percent growth during Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government between 1998 and 2004.
"Narendra Modi is reported to have said that the growth rate during the period of the Vajpayee government was 8.4 percent. Nothing can be further from the truth," Chidambaram said in a statement.
The finance minister's statement came in response to Modi's reported claim of 8.4 percent economic growth during Vajpayee government.
Modi had made the claim while addressing the annual national convention of Overseas Friends of BJP in Florida, US.
Chidambaram said the average growth rate during the six-year tenure of Vajpayee government was 6 percent.
"By contrast, the average for UPA-I was 8.4 percent... the first four years of UPA-II, the average has been 7.3 percent," he said.
The first five-year term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ended in 2009. UPA-II was formed in 2009 and its term expires next year.
"I wonder why Narendra Modi should stage a fake encounter with facts. Ultimately, facts will prevail," Chidambaram said.
Chidambaram also listed the break-up of yearly growth during the Vajyapee government as follows: In the financial year 1998-99, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.7 percent. Growth accelerated to 7.6 percent in 1999-2000. It slumped to 4.3 percent in 2000-01. For 2001-02, it was 5.5 percent; for 2002-03 it was 4 percent and in 2003-04 it rose to 8.1 percent.
"The two worst years since the turn of the century were 2000-01 (4.3 percent) and 2002-03 (4 percent)... there was a golden period of growth, it was the five-year period under UPA-I," Chidambaram said.