Cong, BJP trade barbs on crony capitalism

In a sharp attack on the Opposition, FM P Chidambaram derided a list of questions posed by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha to him as ‘puerile’. He also criticised BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, saying that his brand of liberalism is ‘crony capitalism’.

Addressing a press conference at AICC office in the capital, Chidambaram said, ‘Businesses are comfortable with Manmohan Singh and his finance minister. There is a section of businesses that is comfortable with BJP and Mr Narendra Modi. His (Modi) brand of liberalism is crony capitalism.’ Taking a dig at the BJP, he went on to say that Indian economy was at its worst during 2000-2002 when Yashwant Sinha was heading the ministry.

The BJP immediately fielded party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad with a repartee. Reacting to Chidambaram’s remarks on crony capitalism, Prasad said, ‘Chidambaram is speaking a white lie. It is the Congress led UPA in general and Mr Chidambaram in particular who are the biggest patron of crony capitalism in India.’

Taking his attack further Prasad said as member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee investigating 2G Spectrum scam he was witness to the fact that the finance minister was hand in glove with former telecom minister A Raja in allocating spectrum at seven-year-old price despite objections from one and all. ‘His role in Aircel-Maxis deal was also apparent. Coalgate scam took the cake where fly by night operators without requisite qualifications were allocated coal mines,’ said Prasad.

The former I&B minister even called Chidambaram’s decision to not contest Lok Sabha polls as an ‘open confession’ and ‘running away from polls’ as there is no will to fight. ‘Mr Chidambaram will soon be self-employed when the UPA is out of power,’ he added.

Earlier, asserting that during the UPA tenure the economy remained stable, Chidambaram said, ‘The economy is stable. No one talks about the downgrade anymore. Our biggest success has been in containing the fiscal deficit.’ He also clarified that he will not retire from politics.
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