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Modi running an over-centralised govt: Chidambaram

P Chidambaram

New Delhi:  Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s veiled charge that Sonia Gandhi was an “unconstitutional authority” and instead accused the BJP and the government of “running to” RSS with a “pernicious” hidden agenda.

He attacked Modi saying he runs an “over-centralised” government and it will not go too far if it continues like this. In a dig at him, he said Modi has transformed from Chief Minister of Gujarat to Chief Minister of India.

Chidambaram, who held Finance and Home portfolios during the tenures of UPA government, dismissed criticism that Congress was adopting obstructionism in Parliament and said as Opposition its duty was to raise issues.

“They have not been able to point to a single instance, where Mrs. Sonia Gandhi took any government decision. She was the President of the party. As President of the party she is entitled to give the party’s view.

“Why do BJP leaders run to Jhandewalan and Nagpur? (RSS headquarters). You constantly hear four ministers meet at Jhandewalan, four ministers went to Nagpur,” he told PTI in an interview.

He was asked about the Prime Minister’s suggestion that Sonia Gandhi was an “unconstitutional” authority exercising “real” power over the PMO during the UPA rule.

Explaining Sonia Gandhi’s role during the UPA government, Chidambaram said that a party is entitled to give its view.

“Every decision of the UPA was taken either in the cabinet or cabinet committee. You can criticise the merit of the decision. But, how can one deny that the decision was taken by the cabinet or cabinet committee concerned?” he said.

Reacting to BJP chief Amit Shah’s statement that the party-led government lacked the mandate to address its core issues, the Congress leader said, “This Government and party in power are hiding their true colours.

“From time to time, statements like the one made by Amit Shah bring out their true colours. Their pernicious agenda is still there. They keep it hidden for a while, but sometimes it surfaces.”

Asked to rate the performance of the government and its praiseworthy achievements, Chidambaram said sarcastically that they have made a number of praiseworthy announcements.

“They have made a number of praiseworthy announcements. 100 smart cities is a praiseworthy announcement, but beyond that what? I am giving an example, but announcements are many. I cannot think of any new policy, which has been broken into a new program or programmes, which they have implemented.”

“I am asking you what is the new policy that they have broken into new programmes, which they have implemented successfully.”

To a question on how he saw the government going on, he said, “If they continue to be a over centralised Government, where the ministers have no authority and no autonomy. I am afraid they will not go too far.”

Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, he said that Modi has transformed “from Chief Minister of Gujarat to Chief Minister of India”.

“He (Modi) still functions like he is Chief Minister. He is not functioning like the Prime Minister. Every decision is taken by his office like he did it in Gujarat. You can do it in a state. You cannot do that in a country. I am not the only one who is saying it. Everybody seems to be saying the same thing.”

He said that it means that decision making will be affected and that new ideas will not come up.

Chidambaram said that the Prime Minister is “still in campaign mode”.

“They are talking. They have to deliver. Talk less and deliver more…there is no achievement. There are lot of announcements but still no achievement.”

Asked about Modi’s comments that Congress has not been able to digest defeat, Chidambaram said that while Congress has accepted that it was defeated in the elections and is in Opposition, the BJP does not seem to be comfortable being in government.

“We were defeated. We accept it. We are in Opposition. Why are you constantly fearing that you are in government. You are in government. You do not seem to be comfortable. BJP does not seem to be comfortable in government.”

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