Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, calling it “incompetent” in terms of economic management. At a seminar in New Delhi titled Challenges Facing India, Chidambaram reiterated his criticisms against demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax regime, PTI reported.

“We are now worried about what will happen in the next eight months,” Chidambaram said, referring to the likely period before the 2019 General Elections. Chidambaram alleged that there has been a dip in the country’s growth rate over the years due to lower investment and bank lending, even as non-performing assets have touched Rs 10 lakh crore.

He claimed that countries like the United States and China, which have a bigger Gross Domestic Product, were doing well, but India continued to suffer from slow growth and unemployment.

Chidambaram said that the November 2016 move to ban high-value currency adversely affected the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector. The Congress leader claimed that 50,000 such units have closed down in Tamil Nadu after notes worth Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 were banned.

Chidambaram said that if the rupee continued to weaken against the United States dollar, it would result in increase in import costs, price rise and hike in interest rates.

“In terms of economic management, this is an incompetent government,” Chidambaram said. “If the present economic situation continues, the government will lose its self-confidence and start going haywire.” He claimed that the only way to resolve the situation was to vote the BJP out of power in 2019.

The seminar was also attended by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India leader D Raja.