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Advani calls for new growth model
NEW DELHI |
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani said on Tuesday the country needed a new economic model that did not ape the West, appealing for ideas because he did not understand "money matters".
Advani, 80, who could be India's next prime minister if his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins general elections next year, said neither a Western nor Soviet model for growth suited India.
"We have never agreed to the Soviet model of economic growth and from 1990 onwards, we started looking in another direction," Advani, who was deputy prime minister in the 1990s, said at a meeting of business leaders in New Delhi.
"The Western model also does not suit us, so I want all the thinktanks present here to guide us ... help us prepare a blueprint that suits the country."
Rising food and oil prices, and a string of defeats in state elections, have put the Congress-led ruling coalition government on the mat, increasing the chance of a BJP victory next year.
The opposition has criticised the government for its failure to tackle inflation, running at around 8 percent, and Advani said Congress had failed to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
"The government has mismanaged the country so badly that not only the poor but also the middle classes are seeing their purchasing power eroded due to spiraling prices," Advani also said after a meeting of BJP leaders on Monday.
But Advani admitted he was not an expert in economics.
"I do not understand money matters at all," he said. "In fact, from paying bills to finance and to the income tax, I ask my wife."
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