I paid back Modi on his hard work, Harvard jibe: P Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Feb 22: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram interacted with students and economists at Right To Be Heard programme at the Town Hall here on Saturday evening.

On Gujarat's development

Chidambaram said that India's economic progress is not negative and rather on a slow growth phase.

He said states like Maharashtra, Haryana, National capital Territory, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha are attracting the most number of investments. He said Gujarat is somewhere in between.

On Jayalalithaa govt's decision on releasing Rajiv Gandhi's killers

The minister said he did not back the Tamil Nadu government's move to release killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He said the stand taken by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi against the Jayalalithaa government was right.

On his verbal duel with Narendra Modi

On his much talk-about fight with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Chidambaram said a little humour is okay in politics but coarse language can not be tolerated. "He started the debate on hard work and Harvard and I just paid it back," he said. He also accused Modi of not speaking to the media on important economic issues.

Rahul Gandhi has the capacity to govern the country, Chidambaram said

He said he is not happy with five per cent growth and that the government is doing its best to improve things. He, however, added that if the government of the day does better then he has no problem with it. "If anybody can take the growth rate to 7 per cent, I will salute him," he said.

On one rank, one pension

On the one rank, one pension, Chidambaram said his government has made some important changes on the project and will take a plunge soon. He refused to acknowledge that the UPA took the step to counter Modi's overtures at ex-servicemen.

On women's security

It is a failure of a government if the women of the country can not go out alone, Chidambaram said. He said as a finance minister he formed the Nirbhaya fund.

On investments

"Investments continue to come to India in various forms. In 2012-13, investment worth 91 billion dollars came to India," he said, adding that he has been able to address the problem of current account deficit.

On government's 'policy paralysis'

P Chidambaram refused to acknowledge that the prime minister is responsible for inaction at the government level. People see government with a capital Government. "is the PM responsible if the parliament can't function," he asked.

On Telangana bill

"12 members paralysed a 543-member parliament. It is more undemocratic than the rushing through a bill," the finance minister said. He rubbished the charges that the Congress wanted to reap electoral benefits by forming a new state. "Jawaharlal Nehru made a forced marriage between the two regions but they can't live together," Chidambaram said.

On Rahul Gandhi's capacity to become the PM

Rahul Gandhi is well read and he is not dogmatic, Chidambaram said. "He is willing to learn," Chidambaram said, adding that the young generation should be given a chance to run the country. Rahul Gandhi is capable to run the country, Chidambaram said.

On his own political ambition

"I don't have any ambition. I want to travel, read and write and if possible, to teach." Chidambaram said.

Whether Rahul Gandhi will be a good PM

When asked by anchor Rahul Kanwal on how would he know whether Rahul Gandhi will make a good prime minister, Chidambaram counter asked: "How do I know whether a X chief minister will make a good prime minister?"

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