Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday ticked off Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for “staging a fake encounter with facts” by claiming that the economy had grown by 8.4 per cent during the NDA regime.

“The average for the six-year period [during the Vajpayee government from 1998-99 to 2003-04] was 6.0 per cent, and the average for the last five years [1999-2000 to 2003-04] was 5.9 per cent,” Mr. Chidambaram said in a statement here.

His attack comes soon after Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh accused Mr. Modi of telling lies.

On the other hand, the average growth during the Congress-led UPA’s first term was 8.4 per cent and 7.3 per cent during the first four years of its second term. “The two worst years since the turn of the century were 2000-01 [4.3 per cent] and 2002-03 [4 per cent],” he said.

“Nothing can be further from the truth” than Mr. Modi’s claim of 8.4 per cent growth during the Vajpayee regime. “I wonder why Mr. Modi should stage a fake encounter with facts. Ultimately, facts will prevail. If there was a golden period of growth, it was the five-year period under UPA-1,” he said.

Earlier, Mr. Sharma said Mr. Modi had mastered the art of using untruths and half-truths to his advantage and making sensational claims. He was not a leader who would unite Indian polity but only divide it, he told The Hindu.

More In: National | News