Hitting back at Finance Minister P Chidambaram for his remarks against Narendra Modi, BJP today accused him and Congress of being the "biggest patrons" of crony capitalism in India.
The principal opposition party also accused Chidambaram of "running away" from Lok Sabha election contest and said it was the "first open confession by a tottering Congress government that it had no will to fight".
Reacting sharply to Chidambaram's attack on Narendra Modi for promoting "crony capitalism" and dismissing questions raised by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha as "puerile", BJP said what the Finance Minister was saying were "white lies".
"Mr Chidambaram is speaking a white lie when he is saying that crony capitalism is with Narendra Modi. It is the Congress-led UPA in general and Mr Chidambaram in particular, who are the biggest patrons of crony capitalism in India," BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said while citing 2G spectrum allocation, Aircel-Maxis deal and coal blocks allotment as examples in this regard.
BJP said it was happy that Chidambaram had "bothered to react" and was batting for the Congress party, but he has got "retired hurt on the very first delivery".
Taking a jibe at Chirambaram deciding not to contest this time, Prasad said, "Your decision to run away from election was the first open confession by a tottering Congress government that it had no will to fight and had admitted defeat publicly."
Prasad also said the stock markets reacted positively to this development and were rising on the hopes of a Narendra Modi government coming to power instead.
Responding to the Finance Minister's remarks against the former Finance Minister Sinha that he had a "distant memory" of economy, the BJP leader said, "Mr Chidambaram you are suffering from selective memory while replying to Yashwant Sinha's questions."
Attacking Chidambaram, Prasad said he will become "self- employed" after this election and wished him "luck in his endeavour".
The BJP leader also took pot shots at Chidambaram for claiming that self-employment was rising during the UPA rule when the economy was "shrinking and its base was reducing".
On the Finance Minister's admission that economic growth till 2008 was good, Prasad said, "UPA-I reaped what NDA sowed and UPA-2 suffered the toxic harvest of UPA-I."
"The whole statement (of Chidambaram) is running away from the truth. Chidambaram is being technical when the country is demanding practical answers," he said.
Prasad also hit out at the Finance Minister for daring Modi to contest from Sivaganga seat in Tamil Nadu, saying, "If Chidambaram is so sure of his political hold on Sivaganga, why he did not contest himself."
He said that the Congress leader has seen the crowd response a Hindi-speaking Modi was getting in Tamil Nadu during his meetings and it speaks of his popularity.
On Chidambaram's claim that there is no sovereign rating downgrade of India, Prasad said, "It is indeed a pity that the Finance Minister of a big country like India is seeking vicarious satisfaction that we are not being downgraded and there is no talk of upgrading. This nation wants to be upgraded."
He said the nation instead wants to know why there is price rise, corruption and lack of growth and development. "I regret to say it is very unfortunate".
To a question on whether Ram Janmabhoomi was still an issue for BJP, Prasad said, "This election is going to be fought on unemployment, price rise, lack of development or sense of insecurity in India and on the way the growth story of India has been mismanaged by the Sonia Gandhi-led government. That is the real agenda." On the Ramjanmabhoomi issue, Prasad said, "The court has decided and the matter is there. Ramjanmabhoomi is not an issue per se of this election."
On whether BJP sticks to its stand on constructing the Ram Temple at the stop, he said, "BJP has in its 1989 Palampur resolution already said that the Ram Temple will be contructed at the same spot and it is the truth."
Reacting to Chidambaram's remarks, Yashwant Sinah said, "My not fighting election is totally irrelevant to this issue. I am not fighting elections, therefore, it does not mean I would not say anything and would seal my lips.
"I will continue to attack this government even after this is gone, for the enormous damage it has caused to the country, to the people of India. They really deserve to be consigned to the dustbin," he said.