New Delhi: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Monday launched a strong attack on Narendra Modi saying that the BJP prime ministerial candidate had "deep flaws" in his character and his remarks reflected "a dangerous trend" for the country's democracy.
Finance minsiter P. Chidambaram, File pic
Talking to reporters at the Congress party office here, he also hit out at former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, saying many of the 18 questions put to him Sunday by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader were "puerile."
Chidambaram said with the kind of image-building being done, Modi was no longer only a prime ministerial candidate of BJP but the party was being supplanted by an individual "who is saying I will do it".
"This is dangerous trend. I am sure people of India will reflect (in vote for Lok Sabha elections)," he said.
"If party, democracy, republic, cabinet, government - everything is supplanted by one individual, then it is dangerous," he said.
His attack on Modi came close on the heels of Modi targeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi at an election rally over the 2012 killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines who were then allowed to leave India.
Chidambaram wondered what the country of Gandhi's origin had to do with the issue which was being dealt by the courts.
He also alleged that Modi had deliberately referred to full name of former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh during an election campaign in Gujarat, had in the past referred to practitioners of Islamic faith as "we five, our twenty five" and made "dus numbri (derogatory)" insinuations by referring to residential address of Sonia Gandhi.
"Such a person aspires to be prime minster. I am ashamed...there are deep flaws in character of Narendra Modi," he said. "He can't resist such derogatory remarks. Such perverse characterisation."
Chidambaram also took a dig at Sinha having been shifted to external affairs from finance in 2002 during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government."Yashwant Sinha is a distant memory for people of India. I hope he stays where he is... a distant memory," he said.
Asked about BJP leader Uma Bharati reportedly raking up the Ram temple issue, Chidambaram said she was truthful about what the party really wanted.
About the Congress seeking to woo 70 crore people who were above poverty line but below the middle class, he said there was an aspirational India which was not bothered about caste and religion.
On his not contesting Lok Sabha election, Chidambaram said he had made his position clear earlier.
"I have fought eight elections in 30 years. Life has only one innings, how I play the last 10 years, I have to decide."
"I want to travel, read, write, reconnect with friends in Tamil literature," he added.