New Delhi: BJP Wednesday criticised government`s handling of the economy saying UPA had "squandered" the chance to take advantage of high growth rate left by NDA in 2004, a charge refuted by Congress which claimed its record was better on several parameters.
"When NDA came to power the growth rate was around 4.8 per cent but when it demitted office it was 8.5 per cent," party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said at an event organised by CII where apart from Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury was present.
"That was the base on which the subsequent government came about. I am willing to say initially development was there but how the entire opportunity was squandered away," he added.
He said several factors impinged growth during NDA`s time but the final authority had been given by their leader Atal Behari Vajpayee and his deputy to deliver. Prasad said that in a democracy, the leader of the democracy must have popular support and the buck must stop with him.
Singhvi said that overall the UPA`s record was better than the NDA on twelve key parameters and named agricultural growth, industrial growth, poverty reduction as some of them.
He said there was no logic for despondency or writing off a party before the elections.
While Prasad claimed that the country was in a mood for change, Singhvi countered saying that in 2009, L K Advani was pitted against Manmohan Singh "in a presidential kind of contest and all knew what happened".
During the discussion, Prasad took a veiled dig at Congress saying that his party was not run by a family to which Singhvi responded by saying that BJP had parties like Akali Dal and Shiv Sena as allies.