New Delhi, Aug 16: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not only known for his diplomatic achievements and skill sets for political managements and managing over two dozens of allies but also keeping the economic health of the country sound. When he had left the government for Manmohan Singh, the economic condition of the country was very sound for an economist prime minister.
When former prime minister Atal Vihari Vajpayee was defeated by the Congress-led UPA government, the gross domestic products (GDP) was around 8 per cent, inflation of the country was below 4 per cent while foreign exchange reserves was overflowing at $113 billion (Rs 5,08,500 crore).
Looking at the earlier situation when the Congress government was voted to power In 1991, it had inherited a worst economic scenerio. Inflation in the country was running at 15 per cent, foreign-exchange reserves had shrunk to around $1 billion and GDP growth rate of the country had slipped to 1.3 per cent after several coalition government failed to do much to the economy. So much so that India was forced to beg for money and had to auction gold from its reserve which was a national humiliation.
Prime minister P V Narsimha Rao called in especially Manmohan Singh to take over the responsibility of the finance minister in 1991. But thirteen years later when Manmohan Singh took over as head of the Congress-led coalition government, the economic landscape was vastly different due to the skills of the outgoing Prime Minister Atal Vihari Vajpayee.
It was due to the strong economy that had been left by the Vajpayee government helped the Manmohan Singh led UPA government for the future economic reforms. Having brought reforms to a complete standstill in the second half of its last stint in the government that is between 1994 and 1996, when economy had actually become stronger, the party has earned the reputation that it is good only at dealing with crisis-situation.
On the contrary the BJP battled inner contradiction under Vajpayee, though Vajpayee had taken more than a year to emerge out of the shadows of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the RSS in economic policy formulations but he succeeded. Had there been any other leader, it would have been all the more difficult.