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‘Trying to pull India down’: Sitharaman’s sharp rebuttal to Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Feb 18: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has launched a scathing attack on former prime minister Manmohan Singh for his criticism of the Modi government's handling of economy.

Nirmala Sitharaman

She blamed Manmohan Singh for not doing enough to bring the economy on track during the UPA regime and of trying to pull down India at a time it is counted as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

"I have great regards for you (Singh). I did not expect this from you," Sitharaman said, wondering if he is suddenly speaking about economy because of "electoral consideration" of the Punjab assembly polls.

She also referred to recent revelations about former NSE chief Chitra Ramkrishna having taken guidance of a 'Himalayan Yogi' in running the country's biggest stock exchange and said Singh was not even aware how the bourse was being run for so long when he was in power.

She compared data on export, FDI and inflation during the Modi government with the Singh's dispensation to claim that economic indicators are much better now.

The BJP had been in power for more than seven years and was still blaming first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the problems of the people, former prime minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh said on Thursday in a scathing attack against the Modi-led government.

Targeting the central government on a host of issues, including the farmers' agitation, foreign policy, price rise and unemployment, Singh said ahead of the Punjab elections on February 20 that the BJP's nationalism was "fake" and was based on the British policy of "divide and rule". The Congress played the message delivered in Punjabi at a press conference here.

According to Singh, the government had proved to be a "complete failure" on the issue of foreign policy. The Chinese army, he alleged, was occupying "our pious land for the last one year but efforts are being made to bury this issue". "Our relations with neighbouring nations are also deteriorating," Singh said.

Further targeting the Centre on foreign policy matters, Singh said, "Old friends are constantly alienating from us, while our relations with neighbouring countries are also deteriorating." "I hope that now the ruling dispensation has come to understand that the relations of the countries do not improve by forcefully embracing the leaders, playing on a swing with them or going for uninvited biryani," he said, in a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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