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New Delhi, Mar 6 (IBNS): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a rare scathing attack, prompting a sharp rebuttal from the main opposition outfit.
He compared his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's performance with that of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and said the country had made more progress under his rule.
He said country's average growth rate was more than the BJP-led NDA rule.
"The best I can do is to compare nine years of UPA with six years of NDA, people can compare and decide what has been done," Singh said while delivering the vote of thanks on President Pranab Mukherjee's speech in the Lok Sabha.
"Our average growth rate in these nine years has been 7.9%. During the NDA tenure growth was no more than 6%," the PM said.
"Agricultural growth in the UPA period was 3.5 percent compared with only 2.9 percent per year in the NDA period (1998-99 to 2003-04)," Singh said.
"What has been achieved by this government cannot be belittled," the PM said while taking a dig at the BJP.
In a long Vote of Thanks to the President's address in Parliament on Wednesday, he also recited an Urdu couplet slamming the BJP.
"Humko hai unse wafa ki umeed, jo nahi jaante hain wafa kya hai (We hope for loyalty from those that do not know the meaning of the word)," Singh said,
He accused the BJP of making unwarranted attacks and using "choicest abuse" to belittle his government's achievements.
In a series of attacks, Singh blasted the BJP and said: "The party (BJP) uses abusive language against the UPA. But we cannot reply in the same language."
Singh also targeted the BJP's 'India Shining' campaign and said it was a 'disaster'.
Attacking BJP patriarch LK Advani, he said the party had fielded its 'Iron Man' in 2004 general elections but lost it.
Responding to Singh's literary attack, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj also quipped two Urdu couplets.
"Kuch toh majboorian rahee hongee, yun hee koi bewafa nahee hota, (There must have been some compulsion, one is not disloyal for no reason at all)," she said.
"Tumhe wafa yaad nahee, Humein jafa yaad nahee, Zindagi or maut ke toh do hee tarane hain, ek tumhein yaad nahee, ek humein yaad naheen (You don't remember loyalty, we don't remember disloyalty, life and death have two rhythms, you don't remember one, we don't remember the other)," she added.
BJP president Rajnath Singh countered Singh and said he never saw the Prime Minister in such an aggressive avatar in the past nine years.
"I have never seen PM being so aggressive in nine years.. I believe that before a flame goes out it burns brightest. It indicates that his government will come to an end soon," Singh said.