Bharatiya Janata Party MP Virendra Singh Mast on Sunday claimed that there was no recession in the country as people were buying jackets and coats, ANI reported.
“There have been discussions in Delhi and the world, about a recession,” Mast said at a rally in Ballia, his constituency in Uttar Pradesh. “If there was any recession, we would have come here wearing ‘kurta’ and ‘dhoti’, not coats and jackets. If there was a recession we wouldn’t have bought clothes, pants and pajamas.”
Mast has made such funny remarks in the past too. In December last year, he wondered why there were traffic jams on the roads if the automobile sector was struggling. He claimed that the Opposition was making allegations of an economic slowdown in order to defame the government.
The Indian economy grew at just 4.5% in the second quarter of 2019-’20, the slowest quarterly growth in over six years. The Centre has projected a growth rate of just 5% for this financial year, which ends on March 31. Growth figures for the third quarter of the financial year are due to be released this month.
Mast joins a growing list of BJP leaders who have made bizarre remarks to claim that there has not been an economic slowdown. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had claimed last October that the big business made by movies shows there is no recession.
“Three movies were released on October 2,” the minister said. “Film critic Komal Nahta told me that the national holiday of October 2 saw an earning of over Rs 120 crore – War, Joker and Sye Raa [Narasimha Reddy]. It’s only because the economy is sound that movies can fetch a return of Rs 120 crore in a single day.”
In September, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman herself said that one of the reasons for the decline in the automobile sector was that millennials prefer aggregators like Uber and Ola. Her statement was roundly criticised by the Opposition.
The same month, BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi accused Opposition parties of trying to create panic about the state of the economy, saying the slowdown in growth was a cyclic slowdown seen during the months of “saawan bhado [the fifth and sixth months in the Hindu calendar]”.