Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in an all-round attack on the Modi Government, said on Saturday that it was pushing the economy to the abyss and the growth rate likely to end up well below projected five per cent.
Chidambaram, who was released on bail after in jail for over 100 days in the INX Media case, told reporters at Chennai airport that “this Government is not leading the country on the path of development but pushing the economy to the abyss”.
Chidambaram who met the press in Delhi immediately after his release from jail, elaborated on his attack on the state of the economy and a range of other issues in Chennai.
He said that when he was Finance Minister, the growth rate was in double digit of 8.5 to 9 per cent from 2004 to 2009 and thereafter it fell slightly. Chidambaram said the growth might be less than the projection by Arvind Subramanian, former economic adviser to Modi Government, and it might even touch four per cent.
He said that when he was Finance Minister, the growth rate was in double digit of 8.5 to 9 per cent from 2004 to 09 and thereafter it fell slightly. But the growth under the Modi Government was expected to go below 5.3 per cent predicted by former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and it might even touch 4 per cent.
Apparently referring to the rape and the murder Hyderabad veterinarian Disha and a similar victim from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh who succumbed to burns in New Delhi on Saturday, he said:“The whole country has become a killing field for women, more so in Uttar Pradesh. This will change only if men act as protectors”.
He also said it was a matter of regret that no State Government, including Tamil Nadu, had used the Rs 3,300 crore he allotted when he was Finance Minister for the Nirbhaya Fund to ensure the protection of women
Pooh-poohing the comment of BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar that he had violated bail conditions by giving media interviews, Chidambaram said he had not spoken about the case. But he indirectly touched upon it by saying that his long incarceration in jail was an attempt to intimidate him into silence.
“I am breathing free air. They can’t break my spirit, though they succeeded briefly when I fell ill, but I have since recovered”.
Saying freedom was indivisible, Chidambaram said the same freedom had been denied to the Kashmir people for the past 100 days since the lockdown clamped after the abrogation of Art 370 and the bifurcation of the State.