Delivering the first annual lecture of The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy here, former union finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday highlighted the lack of Muslim candidates to be the loophole in the Bharatiya Janata party’s (BJP) election campaign.
In his address, Chidambaram questioned the possibility of economic growth excluding the support of the Muslim community, women and backward classes, adding that the BJP’s astounding victory in Uttar Pradesh is debatable.
“Is it possible to ensure long term economic growth by excluding the largest minority community or women or the scheduled castes or the scheduled tribes (from contesting assembly polls)?” he asked.
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Prior to this, Chidambaram claimed the BJP government is not capitalising on opportunities to boost the economy, post the announcement of the budget in 2014.
Furthermore, he alleged that the budget did not meet the expectations in terms of infrastructural expenditure and investment in the housing sector.
“By the end of March 2014, there were clear signs of recovery and the growth rate of economy climbed back to 6.54 per cent under the new methodology. With crude prices falling further and commodity prices declining and a new government in place, the stage was set for a major push towards growth,” he said.
“Though there were lots of ‘activities’, none of the government initiatives contributed in boosting economic growth. The activities distracted the government from its main task of designing and implementing a reform programme,” Chidambaram added.