Defence minister has all the time to inquire into religious affiliations of parties,…

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday opened a sharp attack on defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman following her “Muslim Party’ jibe at the Congress.

While reacting to a news report that quoted Congress president Rahul Gandhi as saying that the Congress is a Muslim party, Sitharaman said “Rahul Gandhi has to come out to say very clearly what he meant when he said the Congress is a Muslim party. Let Congress President come out clear, Is Congress a Muslim Party?”

Chidambaram tweeted in response, “After taming Pakistan, eliminating terrorism, stopping infiltration and acquiring Rafale aircraft, the Defence Minister has all the time in the world to inquire into the religious affiliations of parties and persons!”

On Friday, the Congress had dismissed the ‘Muslim party’ report, asserting that it was a party of 132 crore Indians.

Chidambaram, also a former finance minister, said in tweets that exports were lower in June compared to May and the imports higher.

He said despite the higher trade deficit, the government would continue to say that all is well.

“After 5-month-high inflation and 7-month-low industrial growth comes the news of soaring trade deficit.”

“June exports lower than May. June imports higher than May. June trade deficit higher by $2 billion. But the government will say all is well,” he said.

Chidambaram said the Congress leaders had estimated that demonetisation would lead to a cut in growth rate by 1.5% and the outgoing Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has said that purging high currency notes in November 2016 led to a definite slowing down of economy.

The official data showed on Thursday that retail inflation in India touched the five percent-mark in June, compared to 4.87% in May, even as industrial output in May grew at 3.2% compared to the same month last year but declined as compared to rise of 4.9% in April mainly on account of a decline in manufacturing,

Updated: July 14, 2018 — 6:23 pm