Will pass the baton to a firm hand: Chidambaram

Union Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram on Monday expressed confidence that he will be able to pass the baton to a firm hand.

“I will keep a firm hand on the wheel until the last day. And I sincerely hope that I will hand over the wheel to another firm hand,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram sounded positive on the overall economic front and termed that the fundamentals of the economy as strong and the unemployment rate at its lowest levels.

“The fundamentals of the economy are strong, there is no talk of downgrades. The year will end more or less as we planned. Our reserves today has crossed over 300bn US dollars, CAD is about $35bn. We have not only contained fiscal deficit, but also added to reserves. Unemployment rate is lower than under the NDA government,” Chidambaram added.

The finance minister stated that in last 18months he tried to put back on monetary expansion, to stabilize growth, and containing expenditure.”

Chidambaram attacked BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for what he alleged ‘practicing crony capitalism’ and added that he would not like to contest as of now as he has already fought eight elections over the last 30 years, and hence he would like to do certain other things.

Questioned why he was not trying his chances against Modi, the finance minister replied, “Wish I could conteFst from Varanasi. But I don’t speak Hindi, but I am sure Modi wouldn’t want to contest from Sivaganga either.”

Chidambaram jeered at the BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s questions posed at him during the weekend as ‘puerile’.

“Most of the questions are very puerile that is why most of the business papers did not carry them. Mr Yashwant Sinha today is a distant memory to the people of India,and I hope he remains a distant memory. Market celebrations began when Yashwant Sinha had declined to contest elections, continued when Jaswant Singh was expelled,” Chidambaram added.

On Sunday, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha , had accused Chidambaram of being a “spoiler” for the Indian economy and asked him to answer an 18-point questionnaire on inflation, price rise and employment.

“The fact of the matter is Sri Chidambaram that you will be remembered by history as a spoiler, as someone who specializes in sub 5 percent growth rate, for your hubris and for your baseless tall claims which you do not tire of making even today. Your words and statements have lost all credibility,” Sinha had said. (ANI)