The BJP president Rajnath Singh on Friday challenged Congress to declare its prime ministerial candidate before losing sleep over the nominee of his party.
“Will the Congress dare announce who will be the prime minister candidate before the general elections?” he said addressing members of the India-America Chamber of Commerce in New York.
Claiming that there are too many contenders for the job in the Congress Party -- Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, P. Chidambaram and other unnamed dark horses, Mr. Singh said Congress leaders and workers are confused as to who would be the next prime minister if their party returns to power.
He said his party followed democratic principles in the selection of campaign committee and there was consensus unlike in the dictatorial Congress party.
“Did we have any problem when we named senior leader L.K. Advani as Prime Minister Candidate in 2009 and did we had any issues when Atalji was made prime minister in 1999. Congress is now trying to divert the attention of the people from its scams and failures,” he said.
Mr. Singh asserted that there are no differences whatsoever in the choice of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and it will be a smooth sailing.
“The BJP is to bring out a vision document on the state of economy with the help of experts and will be made public end of next month. The document will highlight what we will do in the areas of infrastructure, heavy engineering, manufacturing, energy and technology,” he said.
Turning to the state of economy, he said India is now facing a serious financial crisis of grave magnitude despite the fact that no one in the global economy can ignore India.
“The economy of India is not something that makes us feel comfortable or feel proud of. But India was regarded as third largest economy of the world,” he said, recalling that when the NDA government stepped down in 2004, the fiscal deficit was 2.5 per cent and current account deficit was surplus.
“The economy witnessed a boom period during 1999 to 2004 when the country was ruled by the NDA and the slide started in 2004. The boom that we created lasted till 2008 and then we are now witnessing is one of the worse economic downturns,” Mr. Singh said.
“The rupee value has depreciated drastically to the dollar from Rs. 37 in 2008 to Rs 60 in 2013 almost doubling in five years. We thought this would be offset by increase in exports and that did not happen too which went up by just one per cent,” he said.
“It’s very unfortunate that savings that has been the biggest strength of India as it provided capital is now falling at a very rapid rate. The small businesses tend to grow with the increase in savings and in the absence they take a major hit. Savings drop and growth rates drop and what else to drop.
“The success of Indian story is over. The success story of India is waiting for the BJP to return to power. The UPA had ruined all the economy,” he said.
Mr. Singh said, “We have proved in the BJP-ruled states how we prioritize economic reforms and Gujarat is a shining example of India. The whole world is now talking about Gujarat and foreign governments are keen to study the success story.”
Mr. Singh said the average GDP of BJP-ruled governments are about 10 per cent whereas the nation is only experiencing a growth rate of less than five per cent.
“There are only two models -- BJP model for growth and Congress model for destruction,” he added.
The BJP-led NDA government created 67 million jobs in less than five years whereas the Congress-UPA created less than 2.7 million jobs between 2004 and 2009,” he claimed.
On his visit to Washington, Singh said he had discussions with the Congressmen and the Obama administration officials on the issue of difficulties faced by candidates in H1B and L1 visa to work legally in the US. The GDP cost burden will go up by 0.3 to 0.4 per cent due to increase in fees.
“We had lodged our protest against the comprehensive immigration reforms bill and they had raised the issue of patents and compulsory drug license issues. There was only one case under these CDL whereas Indonesia had six cases and Canada four cases,” he added.
He said the BJP government would not be either a capitalistic government or a socialist government but a nationalist government with the interest of India in mind.
“We are not against FDI and in fact Vajpayee government was the one that initiated FDI but we are against FDI in retail sector as it would affect the livelihood of many a small business owner,” he said.
He said that his party would demand to investigate the issue of forgery of signature of MPs in a letter sent to U.S. President Barack Obama.