Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Arun Jaitley on Saturday described Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as only a “night watchman” sent out by the Congress cricket team to be at the crease till the important leader took over.

He made these remarks while delivering a talk on “Why BJP” at a programme organised here by the Friends of BJP — a group of professionals who have come together to campaign for the party among their colleagues.

Mr. Jaitley alleged that the Congress had reduced Indian democracy to a farce by downgrading the Prime Minister’s position.

He accused the UPA of failing to take effective measures to reduce the impact of recession, properly handle the security issue and to demonstrate political will to address the country’s problems.

The ‘wrong economic policies’ of the UPA resulted in the disappearance of liquidity from the economy at a time when recession was invading the country, leading to a twin blow on the economy, he alleged. He said the UPA’s views on the economy were similar to Pakistan’s on terrorism, as both believed in “denial of facts.” The UPA denied that the economy was affected, like Pakistan refuting the role of its groups in the terror strikes.

Describing the Third Front as a temporary parking space for parties till they decide their post-poll moves, he said: “Some constituents of the Third Front may even be caught in the traffic jam.”

Earlier, addressing a press conference, Mr. Jaitley said the Congress had blundered on its alliances and was still unclear about its leadership. These two factors would cost the party dearly in the elections, he said.

He declined to comment on the reported rift between himself and the party national president Rajnath Singh and said he would not like to discuss party matters in a public forum.