New Delhi, Jan.30: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said he was not surprised by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley’s reaction to his “back of a postage stamp” comment on BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Rather, he said, he had expected Jaitley to respond.
In a statement released today, Chidambaram said: “I expected Shri Arun Jaitley to rush to the defence of Shri Narendra Modi , and he has not disappointed me. He has responded to my lighter-vein comment on “back of a postage stamp” and I enjoy such exchanges.”
He added: “However, he has carefully avoided the other questions that I raised. Why has Shri Modi said nothing about the fiscal deficit, nothing about the CAD, and nothing about monetary policy?”
He further asked: “I have further questions: Why do Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat oppose GST and prevent a consensus? Why did Shri Modi write to the Prime Minister opposing the Food Security Act? If Indian-owned multi-brand retail will not destroy jobs, how will FDI in multi-brand retail destroy jobs?”
Chidambaram’s statement was in reaction to Jaitley pointing out on Tuesdaythat economics student P Chidambaram can be credited with pulling down India’s GDP growth to below 5 per cent.
Jaitley’s retort jibe came a day after the finance minister had said that Modi’s understanding of economics “can be written on the back of a postage stamp.”
Jaitley had also sought to know from Chidambaram the extent of economics Congress de facto prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi knows.
Jaitley’s detailed critique of Chidambaram’s observation was titled “Should a successful chief minister be an economist?”