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PC minority question for Modi

Chidambaram

Davos, Jan. 22 (PTI): Why has Narendra Modi never fielded a Muslim candidate in any Gujarat election, finance minister P. Chidambaram asked today.

In Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, the Congress leader was asked why he had not joined the BJP and responded that it doesn’t represent all of India.

Some sections of Muslims may have voted for the BJP, as its prime ministerial candidate Modi claims, Chidambaram said. “But the fact is that Modi has never fielded any Muslim candidate ever in any election in his state. What does that mean?” he wondered.

The BJP doesn’t even have a presence in some parts of the country, the minister said.

“It has got policies that would destroy the very idea of India. Theirs is a blood-eyed economic model,” he said.

Citing an example, the finance minister said the BJP was opposing FDI in multi-brand retail on grounds that it would kill jobs when the opposite was true. The party was also opposing public distribution system reforms although a large population was not getting cheap food at a time India possesses huge stocks of foodgrain. “Why is it that the BJP and its mascot are opposing these reforms?” Chidambaram asked.

The minister said the general election was likely to throw up a fractured verdict, but the “Congress party is clear that if Congress is in a position to form a government it will be headed by Rahul Gandhi”.

In 2004 Sonia Gandhi was elected leader, but she chose to anoint Manmohan Singh instead. “That model has worked, but that does not mean that we will have same model again,” he said.

“If Congress is called to form the government, I’m pretty certain in my mind that Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister.”

Asked if he thought Rahul had enough fire in his belly to be the Prime Minister, Chidambaram replied: “There was enough fire in his belly when he spoke at the AICC meeting”.        

The minister, who was yesterday appointed a senior spokesperson of the Congress, did not spare the Aam Aadmi Party. There was no place for mob-democracy in India, he said. “It is just a few weeks (in power) and we are seeing an unravelling of the Aam Aadmi Party,” he said.

“One time that Mrs Gandhi stumbled and brought in an authoritative model that was at the time of Emergency, it failed and she had to go back,” Chidambaram said.

He named Indira Gandhi among the politicians he admires the most, the others being Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and John F. Kennedy and Lee Luan Yew.