Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here on a "New Vision for India", both Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Arun Jaitley agreed that economic growth, poverty reduction, justice and good governance were needed to build a new India.
They said there was a general consensus among the two national parties on economic issues but pointed to certain differences too.
"There is convergence on economic growth among the national parties but there is difference in the quality of leadership and decision making," Jaitley said.
The Congress, argued Singh, believes that ideology is important for a political party as that is what provides it a road map for development. "We are for empowering people and for social welfare," he said.
Both Congress and BJP blamed each other for the slowdown in the Indian economy.
Singh blamed the BJP for "disrupting parliament over petty issues" which he said had led to the "highest number of bills pending in this Lok Sabha."
Jaitley denied the charge, saying his party was not disrupting parliament just for the sake of opposition and said there was political consensus among the two parties on many issues, but "an environment of political confrontation from the government's side affects economic consensus."
The slowdown in the economy, Jaitley said, was not due to the BJP blocking key reforms legislation in parliament but due to faulty "executive decision making."
"Parliament would be a very boring place if there was agreement on all issues," he said in a lighter vein.
Both Singh and Jaitley agreed on the need to improve quality of governance in the country.
While Singh noted that "political reforms were needed, but had to be practical", Jaitley said "no change can come overnight".
Singh said: "More discipline is needed among the public so that the rules are not broken."
"People should ensure that shady persons were not elected to legislatures and parliament," Jaitley said.
For a change, both leaders agreed on the need for sober election campaigns, devoid of personal slander.
--IANS (Posted on 07-12-2013)