Can’t recall vendetta politics in Vajpayee, UPA era: Chidambaram

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New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Former Union Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said that it was not correct to say that every new government embarks on vendetta against the previous government, citing examples of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh governments.

Chidambaram, who handled the Fianance and Home portfolios at different times in the two Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments, also claimed that at present there was “a complete paralysis of decision making” in the government which is resulting in a high number of litigations.

“To say that every new government starts a witch hunt against the previous government is not correct,” he said during a panel discussion following the release of the book “Spectrum Politics” authored by his senior party colleague Salman Khurshid.

“I can’t recall Mr. Vajpayee’s government starting a vendetta against the previous government of Mr. Narasimha Rao. Nor can I recall UPA-I starting a vendetta against Mr. Vajpayee’s government,” he said.

However, Chidambaram, who is being probed by the CBI in the INX media case and also by Income Tax Department for alleged undeclared assets, refused to comment on “current affairs”.

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“I am not going to comment on current affairs. The larger issue is what is happening today is much more number of litigations happening today thanks to absence of decision at the government level. I can give you any number of first hand examples,” he said in response to a query by senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, who was moderating the panel discussion.

“There is complete paralysis of decision making. My only fear is that this tendency does not get entrenched and flows into the next government and then the next government, whoever forms them. We have to bring back into the government the courage and capacity to take decisions. Today I think we are at the weakest point where decisions are not being taken,” Chidambaram added.

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“Spectrum Politics” sheds the light on what happened during the entire 2G spectrum allocation, the false perception of a scam created in the public, the Justice Shivraj Patil report, the Joint Parliamentary Committee observations and finally how the trial court of Judge O.P. Saini absolved all the accused.

On the question of vendetta politics, Khurshid said: “I think it’s very, very clear that there are people who come into government who think that the only way they can retain some credibility in power is by creating question marks about the past.

“There may be a case where something in the past may have gone wrong. But the manner in which you pursue it. I mean you can look at the charge sheet or FIR and tell if this is something serious or a cooked up, concocted thing.”

Khurshid observed that mistakes could be “honest” but the country was “unfortunately drifting in a direction that most mistakes are dishonest”.

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Sam Pitroda, who connected briefly with the gathering through video conferencing from the US, said that the seeds of today’s mobile telephony revolution were sowed in the mid-1980s under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

He recalled how India resisted a pressure by international telecom companies to go for analog telephony and instead chose to go the digital way and that decision, he stressed, was to be credited with today’s 2G, 3G and 4G telecom revolutions.

There were some lighter moments too. At one point, trying to defend the media against the allegations that it went overboard in grilling the government without understanding the whole issue, Sardesai said that media smelled a rat in the 2G spectrum allocation thanks to the way the then Telecom Minister A. Raja went about the things.

“Journalists do look for criminality in such circumstances,” Sardesai said. But Chidambaram quipped: “Sometimes, sometimes. At other times the media doesn’t look at anything.”



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