- BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha says economy is a "mess", will worsen
- Wrong to judge economy by slump in last quarter: BJP sources
- GST, note-ban will deliver long-term, say BJP sources
Writing in the Indian Express today, Mr Sinha, the country's former finance minister, indicted Mr Jaitley for making a "mess" of the economy, which, he says, owes its ruin partly to the hurried introduction of the national sales tax, the GST, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock ban last year of high-denomination notes. Mr Sinha warns that the rural distress which has farmers caught in debt, will worsen. "The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters. His finance minister is working over-time to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters," says the veteran leader.
Mr Jaitley has not commented on the controversy yet.
But the government defended its handling of the economy. "India's record is well known across the world. It is one of the fastest growing economies," said Home Minister Rajnath Singh. "Under the decisive leadership of PM Modi, India has become the world's fastest-growing economy for three years in a row," said union minister Piyush Goyal, who highlighted the new Goods and Services Tax as among "unprecedented reforms."
Other BJP leaders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the slump in India reflects a global slowdown and that it's unfair to assess the economy as in crisis only on the performance of the last quarter, when it declined to 5.7 per cent, its lowest in three years.
Mr Sinha's son, Jayant Sinha, is a minister in PM Modi's government. In 2014, after Prime Minister Modi's whopping victory, he was marginalised along with senior leaders including LK Advani, seen as punishment for opposing Mr Modi being named their party's presumptive prime minister.
BJP sources today suggested that it's this involuntary retirement that Mr Sinha is seeking to avenge. They claimed that the GST, which replaces a jumble of central and state tariffs, and demonetisation, will both deliver strong long-term results.