Narendra Modi Saturday targeted Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram for his remark made at Davos recently that the BJP PM nominee’s understanding of economics can be written on the back of a postage stamp. Modi was addressing a rally here, his third in the day after the ones in Guwahati and Imphal.
In an effort to consolidate BJP’s efforts to attract allies, Modi did not mention the AIADMK or its leader J Jayalalithaa, with whom his party may have to work after the general elections. Even the third front that Jayalalithaa is heading in Tamil Nadu, which he had termed as “third rate”, failed to find a mention in his speech.
Without naming Chidambaram, but calling him “recounting minister”, in an apparent reference to Chidambaram’s 2009 victory from Sivaganga after a recounting of votes, the Gujarat CM charged him with arrogance. “The Harvard-educated Finance Minister had presided over a period of steady decline for the country’s growth while under him, a village-born and educated tea-seller, who could not even see the doorsteps of those great universities, Gujarat performed better when it came to key indicators,” Modi said, citing statistics.
In this battle between the two systems, Harvard and hard work, it is the latter that would take India to progress, he said. “You can decide for yourself, dear Finance Minister, that knowledge of economics does not come from books alone… What is required is good governance.”
Modi also targeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, again without naming him, who reportedly used the word fool (ullu) in Gujarat Saturday. “He spoke without preparing… Is that the way a leader of stature speaks?”