Chidambaram, who was speaking during a debate with his successor Arun Jaitley held on the occasion of the release of the book 2014: The election that changed India, penned by senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, conceded to the fact that the scam hurt the Congress badly in the 2014 parliamentary election and opined that former prime minister Manmohan Singh should have put his foot down at the appropriate time.
Chidambaram, who did not contest the parliamentary election and saw his son Karti contesting from his constituency Shivaganga in Tamil Nadu, said Singh could have cancelled the licences and not allow the matter to drift. The debate between him and Jaitley was moderated by television journalist Karan Thapar.
In May, A Raja alleged neither Singh nor Chidambaram said a word on the scam
Chidambaram, 69, admitted that anti-incumbency was a factor and the government had committed some mistakes. But the veteran economist-politician also felt that the results could have been different had the Manmohan Singh government succeeded in turning the economy around.