Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday asserted that the BJP would return to power with over 300 seats in the next year 2019 Lok Sabha elections and that the NDA would secure a two-thirds majority in the Lok Sabha.
Slamming Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the minister said, "We are working in line with Mahatma Gandhi's vision of India that Congress should wind up shop. On one hand, we will make India Congress mukt (free), and on the other, we will make it Poverty Mukt."
His remarks came soon after, Gandhi earlier in the day alleged the Narendra Modi government for "waging war on Indians" and imposing a "suffocating ideology" on them.
"It (Modi government) wants to impose one singular suffocating memory on our 1.3 billion people," said Gandhi in his scathing attack, adding that "rupee is on its knees, petrol at an all-time high, the stock market imploded, Rs 12 lakh crore in NPAs and unemployment is at a 20-year high".
"Reimagining India for the BJP, the RSS is to shut the imaginations of Indians. Institutions are attacked, Supreme Court judges are compelled to go public because they feel intimidated," the Congress chief said.
Goyal said, "For more than 48 years of our 71 years of Independence, we have had one family rule this country. Congress has ruled it for almost six out of the seven decades."
When asked about the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government losing the narrative amid crisis like surging oil prices and a depreciating rupee, Goyal said, "Absolutely not. The people of India are smart and are watchful of what a government does when times are good and when times are bad."
"When Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power, there were many issues to grapple with. Then we had a Pokhran test, and sanctions were imposed on us. So Vajpayee got a very short window. We saw a fiscal deficit under control and a current account surplus. But he was able to leave behind for the next government a strong base."
He said during the Vajpayee government, foreign exchange reserve had gone up from $29 billion in 1998 to $103 billion in 2004, interest rates were down, inflation was down to four per cent, growth was up to eight per cent and you had a robust economy.
"That was the time when the country would have invested heavily in building up reserve and building a strong base for the country. Sadly between 2004 and 2008, the government did not use that opportunity to strengthen its arm to strengthen its reserves," he said.
"I have never seen such a mismanagement in a year like that," he said, adding, "That was the time when indiscriminate loans were given. We got an economy in a shambles. But Modi focused both on the macro and micro levels. Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley steered the economy away from that."
"We have strengthened the economy in the last four years. We have identified the problems. Today we have an economy that is able to withstand external pressures," Goyal added.