Ahmedabad, November 14: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that not being a finance minister of a government with absolute majority has been a regret in his life. Chidambaram had been a finance minister of Congress-led UPA government from 2004-2008 and 2012-2014 but the party failed to get absolute majority in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
The Rajya Sabha MP even had a brief tenure as the finance minister in 1996 and 1997. Also read: Thank You, Gujarat, Says Chidambaram as Govt Cuts GST Rates on Over 170 Items
“The only regret in my life will be that I was never Finance Minister in a government with absolute majority,” Chidambaram said in Ahmedabad.
It was in 2014, after 40 years, any party got absolute majority in the Lower House. Riding high on the Narendra Modi wave, the Bharatiya Janata Party won 282 seats in the 543-member House. The Congress was mauled and managed to win just 44 seats.
He hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his development claims and it can be achieved by providing better amenities to people. “‘Vikas’ cannot be measured by simply saying that I am going to get a bullet train for Rs 1 lakh crore. Development does not mean headline grabbing stories, it means better healthcare, cleaner air, toilets, transportation, gender justice,” Chidambaram said.
Asking Congress workers to exhibit a more vigorous fighting spirit to take on the BJP, Chidambaram said the saffron party of today was not the one of the Vajpayee-Advani era. “In order to oppose and fight the BJP, I say that we should have more fighting spirit (por gunam),” Chidambaram had said.
“Today’s BJP was not the one of the Vajpayee-Advani era, you must first know that.”
Gujarat will go to polls on December 9 and 14. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.
With inputs from Agencies