Karnataka grew at 8% under Congress rule: Chidambaram

Bengaluru, May 8: Betting on the Congress to win the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said the state grew at 8 per cent of the Gross Sate Domestic Product (GSDP) during the last five years of its rule."Karnataka's GSDP under the five-year stable Congress rule increased 8 per cent annually to Rs 9,49,111 crore in fiscal 2017-18 from Rs 6,43,292 crore in fiscal 2013-14 at constant prices," Chidambaram told reporters here ahead of the crucial poll on Saturday.Asserting that an average citizen in the state was richer than five years ago, he said the per capita income had shot up 125 per cent to Rs 1,74,551 from Rs 77,309 in 2013 as against the all-India growth of 59 per cent."The state has an enviable macro-economic record with average 2.26 per cent fiscal deficit while the average revenue surplus was 0.08 per cent."Unemployment in the state is also lowest among the states at 2.6 per cent as against 5.9 per cent at the national level.Lauding Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for completing a full tenure, the first in 40 years since D. Devaraj Urs in the late seventies, Chidambaram said development and welfare had gone together as evident from 40 per cent spending on the social sector."In contrast, the BJP gave the people during its 5-year tenure (2008-13) a weak and unstable government with three chief ministers," he said.Cautioning the people against voting for the BJP, the former minister said the same incompetent men and women were leading its poll campaign this time."No one has forgotten the sad spectacle of 2008-2013. The people gave 110 seats to the BJP. What did they get in return? It was perhaps the worst government in the state's history."On the twin challenges before the next government, Chidambaram said the first was to maintain the growth momentum and the other was to confront the design of the RSS-BJP set up which was out to wreck the federal system, weaken states and impose its agenda of one history, one culture, one religion, one language and one code of behaviour.