Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said PM Narendra Modi has emerged as the “most dominant political figure” after the assembly polls, while seeking to differ that the election results are a referendum on note ban. The results will increase the BJP’s tally in the Upper House and a majority there will make it possible for the NDA government to start radical reforms during its remaining term to accelerate the economic growth, the Congress leader said. “The elections today have clearly established that the most dominant political figure in India is Prime Minister Modi. And he has a pan-India appeal,” Chidambaram told a gathering at Indian Merchants Chamber here.
Stating that the BJP tally in Rajya Sabha will increase, he said the government will enjoy a majority in both houses which will enable it to “pass virtually any Bill” as the political obstacles go off.
This climate will help accelerate the GDP growth to 8 per cent, which is a prerequisite to make India a prosperous and rich society, he said adding the current 7 per cent expansion does not help create new jobs.
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“The political conditions are present for that today, but I don’t know whether they have identified the other things which have to be done to make that happen,” he said.
The former finance minister stressed that for the real reform, the conditions like stopping gratuitous intervention in markets by the government, reconstructing bureaucracy and creating an ethical and equitable society are also necessary.
“In remaining 24-27 months (of the government), given the political conditions at present, we can identify and accelerate the new reforms that will take us back to the 8 per cent growth. I think these obstacles are removable,” he said, claiming that the UPA regimes too had introduced reforms despite the lack of numbers between 1991-96 and 2004-14.
On demonetisation, to which he has been very critical, Chidambaram said it would be a “simplistic conclusion” to attribute the note ban to the runaway BJP win in UP.
A variety of other factors were at play during the polls and it was not a “referendum” on the surprise move to ban the high value notes, he said.
Chidambaram also dismissed the talks that all caste equations have vanished.
“I don’t think the caste equations have been obliterated forever,” he said adding the single-leader mandates in 1971, 1980 and 1984 too had led to the similar talks.
“What happened in UP was that one leader seemed to have complete sway over the electorate (and) seemingly swept away all the divisions,” added the Congress leader.