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New Delhi: As the Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) celebrated nine years in power, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked the ruling coalition on Wednesday and demanded that it apologize for letting the nation down.

“What are they celebrating for? Are they celebrating betrayal and pain caused to common man or are they celebrating environment of gloom," said Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha. “Instead of celebrating they should have introspected and sought a pardon from the country."

UPA is in the fourth year of its second term in office after back-to-back election victories in 2004 and 2009. A slew of corruption scandals, an economic downturn and high inflation have marred its second term and eroded its goodwill.

“UPA-II has seen more corruption than UPA-I. There have been mind-boggling scams which were not seen by any previous government," Swaraj said at a press conference she addressed together with Arun Jaitley, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

The common man is paying the price of corruption, she said.

The two BJP leaders also attacked UPA and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allegedly eroding the importance of the office of prime minister.

“Singh’s colleagues sit with him in the cabinet and look towards the UPA chairperson (Sonia Gandhi) for directions," Swaraj said. “Such split leadership is the biggest failure of UPA."

Jaitley said the extent to which the Prime Minister’s Office had been belittled during the coalition’s second term was unprecedented.

“They (UPA-II) are celebrating fourth anniversary in an environment of gloom, cynicism and negativism," he said.

Jaitley said the only achievement of the Congress in the last four years could be its survival, which he attributed to the support of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He alleged that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party wouldn’t have lent outside support to UPA, enabling it to stay in office, had they not been pressurized by the CBI.

At the same time, BJP leaders deflected questions on the likelihood of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi being projected as the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) prime ministerial candidate in the next general election, due in 2014.

“Whether we will have a (prime ministerial) face or not and if we decide to have a face, who it will be, these issues will be decided by the BJP parliamentary board in consultation with NDA partners," Swaraj said.

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