Bharatiya Janata Party leader Virendra Singh Mast on Thursday dismissed reports of a slowdown in the automobile sector and claimed that traffic jams on roads were an indication of the growth, ANI reported. He alleged that the Opposition’s talks about slowdown were a conspiracy to “defame” the government and the nation.

Mast, a Lok Sabha MP from Ballia constituency in Uttar Pradesh, told the Parliament that an atmosphere of economic slowdown was being created. “To defame the nation and government people are saying that the automobile sector has slowed down,” he said. “If there is a decline in automobile sales then why are there traffic jams on the roads?”

“There are 20 vehicles in one home,” the BJP leader added. “You never decide what should be the relation between consumer and production.” He made these comments while participating in a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the state of agriculture in the country.

The automobile industry has been in crisis for the past year, with 15,000 jobs lost in the previous quarter and hundreds of dealerships closed. The decline in consumer confidence, coupled with a crisis in non-banking finance companies, have caused a steep fall in passenger car sales.

The slowdown so far was one of the worst to have disrupted the automobile industry since the collection of data on vehicle sales started in 1997. Passenger vehicle sales rose for the first time in 12 months in October, albeit a marginal 0.28%.

The government had in November termed the slowdown in automobile sector as cyclical, and said it is taking various steps, including release of funds worth Rs 70,000 crore to public sector banks.