A few hours after P Chidambaram and his family got relief from the Madras High Court, which quashed an order by the Income Tax department seeking the payment of tax by the former finance minister and his family on income received from a coffee estate owned by them for 2008-09 financial year, the former FM has confessed the only regret of his life. “The only regret in my life will be that I was never Finance Minister in a Government with an absolute majority”. Chidambaram served as the finance minister during the UPA-I and II regimes from 2004 to 2008 and 2012 – 2014. However, both the times the Congress was not the majority party and was running a coalition government. While the grand old party won 145 Lok Sabha seats in the 2004 General Elections, it bagged 206 in the 2009 polls, just shy of the magical figure of 273, which could have given the party a clear majority. Chidambaram was also a Cabinet Minister with the finance portfolio for a brief period in the United Front coalition government from 1996 to 1998.
He also slammed the incumbent government’s ambitious Bullet Train project saying, “‘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.”
P Chidambaram (born 16 September 1945) was among the most prominent cabinet ministers of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He also served as the Home Minister from 2008 – 2012 in the Manmohan Singh-led government. Chidambaram is currently on a visit to the poll-bound Gujarat. Recently, Chidambaram found occasion to “thank Gujarat” after the Centre slashed GST rates on more than 200 items. He took to his Twitter account to write, “Thank you Gujarat. Your elections did what Parliament and common sense could not do.”