New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went on the offensive on Wednesday as he presented his reply to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President for his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. Singh, known for his quiet demeanour, unleashed scathing attacks on the BJP on all fronts. He did not spare Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi either, remarking, "jo garajte hain, woh baraste nahi (Barking dogs seldom bite)".
"The BJP's India Shining campaign was a disaster. Economic growth was higher under the UPA regime than under the NDA. Growth under the UPA was 3.5 per cent as compared to the NDA's 2.9 per cent per year," PM said, to much desk-thumping among the UPA leaders. "The NDA may be defeated again, given their arrogance," he warned, reminding the main opposition party that it had fielded its 'Iron Man' - LK Advani - in 2004 and had lost despite their strong electoral campaign.
Speaking about the state of the economy, PM admitted that inflation had been a persistent problem and that India had faced a difficult situation in the past. However, sounding a optimistic note, Singh said the UPA government was capable of bringing the economy back on the growth path.
"Our focus remains on inclusive growth. We are faring better than global economies. However, difficulties remain. We are capable of bringing the economy back on the growth track. We can grow at seven to eight per cent," he said.
The Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj was quick to give a response. And she chose the medium of poetry for it. She stated that the PM could not expect support from the BJP as they would never support any party that cheats the nation.