BJP today hit back at P Chidambaram for questioning Narendra Modi's knowledge about the economy, saying the Finance Minister thinks he is the "principal repository of all economic wisdom" even when the country's growth story being turned into a "nightmare".
BJP leader Arun Jaitley also targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the economy had not been managed well even though he was an economist.
Lashing out at Chidambaram, Jaitley said he "believes that he is a principal repository of all economic wisdom. It is a different matter that he along with the other members of the UPA's dream team to manage the economy, have presented to the country not a dream but a nightmare."
The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said, "This statement (of Chidambaram) comes from a keen student of economics who can be credited with pushing India’s GDP growth to below 5 pc". He said observers today do not share Chidambaram's opinion about Modi. "In fact, the revival of the investment cycle is being linked to a change in government where Dr Singh and Mr Chidambaram go out and Mr Modi comes in."
Complimenting Modi for steering the economy of Gujarat to a high growth trajectory, he chided Chidambaram by questioning him on the economic knowledge and understanding possessed by his "de facto Prime Ministerial candidate" Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP leader said political administrators who manage the economy are not known by their academic attributes but by the footprints of performance they leave behind.
In this context, he cited the examples of former Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee who find a "special mention" in history for building consensus on economic issues and asserting themselves to overrule their critics.
He said unlike Modi, Chidambaram and Singh did not have the ability to overrule their critics and "caved in even when obsolete suggestions were made by their Party leadership."
Jaitley said Modi has demonstrated clarity and effectiveness in generating and expediting economic activity in Gujarat and "His ability does not require certification of Mr Chidambaram."
Finance Minister P Chidambaram had commented that the amount of economics that Modi knows can be written on the backside of a postal stamp.