Narendra Modi has deep character flaws…would’ve contested in Varanasi if I knew Hindi: Chidamabaram

Chidambaram said Congress was looking for a “strong candidate” to field against Modi in Varanasi.

New Delhi | Updated: April 1, 2014 8:21 pm

Lashing out at Narendra Modi for what he termed were his “deep character flaws”, Finance Minister P Chidambaram Monday said he wished he could have contested the Lok Sabha polls against the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in Varanasi, but was constrained by his lack of knowledge of Hindi.

“I wish I could have contested from Varanasi but I don’t speak Hindi and wouldn’t be able to campaign in Hindi. I am sure Mr Modi wouldn’t like to contest from Sivaganga either,” Chidambaram told reporters when asked if he was willing to take on Modi from Varanasi.

The Congress is yet to declare a candidate from the constituency, although many leaders have expressed their willingness to contest from there. Chidambaram said the party was looking for a “strong candidate” to field against Modi in Varanasi.

Urban development secretary Sudhir Krishna had complained against Chidambaram earlier this year claiming the minister had humiliated him at a high-level meeting by telling him he couldn’t understand his English, and that Krishna should speak in Hindi instead.

Chidambaram, an MP from Sivaganga, is not contesting the elections this time and has vacated the seat for his son.

“I have fought eight elections over the last 30 years. Now there are many other things I want to do in my life,” he said, adding he was not retiring from politics and would continue to work for the party.

Taking on the Gujarat chief minister, Chidambaram said Modi had “deep character flaws”. “He cannot resist such derogatory remarks and perverse characterisation…I am ashamed such a person aspires to be PM and the party (BJP) that doesn’t point out these flaws to him,” he said, referring to Modi’s remarks on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Italian marines.

He also pointed towards instances of “perverse characterization” by Modi, including of a former Chief Election Commissioner by calling him “James Michael Lyngdoh” in election meetings apparently referring to his religion. “Referring to people practising a certain faith, he had said ‘ham panch, hamare pachis (we five, our 25)’. When he referred to the Congress president sometime back, he said ‘das numbari’,” Chidambaram said.

Asked about his views on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that Modi becoming PM would be “disastrous” for the country, Chidambaram said he “concurred” with the view. “He will be an earnest, hardworking, considerate and compassionate Prime Minister who runs a democratic cabinet,” he said in response to a question about party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

He also said it was wrong to say Modi had been given a “clean chit” on the Gujarat riots since the SIT report has been challenged in a higher court and the “final word” has not been said. He also said the SIT had a “limited mandate”.

Dismissing suggestions that corporates were unhappy with the Congress and were veering towards the BJP, the finance minister said, “Corporates have no problem with us. Businesses are comfortable with the UPA and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh…But a section of big business is extremely comfortable with Mr Modi because his brand of capitalism is crony capitalism.”

Launching a scathing attack on senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who had posed 18 questions to him,Chidambaram said the questions were “puerile”. “Mr Yashwant Sinha is a distant memory for the people of India and I hope he remains where is,” he said.

Chidambaram said he would like to hand over the finance ministry to someone who also had a “firm hand on the wheel”.

“I will keep a firm hand on the wheel and would like to hand over to another firm hand on the wheel, and am hopeful it will not be a man of the choice of Mr Narendra Modi,” he said.

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  1. A
    Mar 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm
    The new government must bring in a law and try the PM and FM for the mess in the economy and the scale of economic offences committed by the 2 g looters.
  2. A
    Apr 1, 2014 at 4:23 am
    1.It is utter shame after 30 years in political system, he does not know hindi which is national language and not his regional language. 2. Win congress, but before making them again king, take their signature on plain paper and ensure and confirm from them that all corruption, scam will be completed, guilty will be executed with death and money will be brought back. No Modi. Only real issue and real solution.3. You are good actor, showing committed, pure, honest face and behind this face what you are capable of doing everyone know all India.4. Very basic question, why scams and corrputions occurs. Character flaws in non congress party. You are with lot of characters, then where all character went, is it in scam, corruption, arrogance. What is your all character. 5. Because of fear of losing, you are not contesting. Instead as a leader you should have come ahead and set example by winning the election and that should have showed your character. Kam karo kam, India ke tarraki karo, logoko murkh mat banoo, bolte hai democratic India chalana an nahi, isliye itne sare scams and corrpution kiye, do you know with these scam and corruption you have fooled, deceived 150billion Indian people excluding your party nos in parliament. What is your character.
  3. A
    Apr 1, 2014 at 7:14 am
    running away from his own consuency and challenging other giving excuses of not knowing hindi. Great sir
  4. N
    Apr 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm
    Modi is far better then rahul hi...
  5. B
    Brij Ahuja
    Apr 1, 2014 at 6:02 am
    I don't think that Modi can win in the elections. People are getting fed up of him and his campaigning. Even, his slogan of 'Har Har Modi' made a negative impact on the people. I don't think that Modi can get the sufficient number of votes
  6. B
    Brij Ahuja
    Apr 1, 2014 at 6:00 am
    P Chidambaram has made a good point. It would be wrong to say that Modi is innocent and has been given clean chit. SIT report has been challenged in a higher court and the final word has not been said. Now, how can anyone give vote to a person who has such criminal background?!
  7. R
    Rangaesh Gadasalli
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm
    Hindi is a very beautiful language, people love to watch Hindi movies and listen to Hindi songs. You are a top politician in New Delhi for hundred? years. why did you not learn? because it is in your Tamilian Genes. who opposed Hindi when it became a national language. Yes Modi has flaws, he killed 250 peole in firing in 2002 where as you got away with out firing a bullet. Yes.Modi has flaws, he did not hideTatas, Ambanis etc where as you could hide Raja kalamadi for many years. More you talk ,more you get exposed.Ten years in govt and now your shehzada wants to promise ten crore jobs! Joke on the nation. Vanakkam. Parkalam.
  8. H
    Hrishan Sehgal
    Apr 1, 2014 at 5:57 am
    It would be great if P.Chidambaram could contest from Varanasi. But still, Congress has some very good and intelligent memebers and the party will definitely field a strong candidate against Modi and Kejriwal
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