Congress leader P Chidambaram cautioned Modi government, saying that the NDA government is inching closer to the end of its term and it might also be assailed by the same degree of corruption allegations which unseated the UPA government from power.
The former finance minister said the Congress-led UPA-2 had witnessed a reputation of “corrupt deeds” which rooted out the grand old party.
He, however, said the same "abhorrence" could be attached with the saffron party as well when the NDA government will complete its term (in 2019) though he was not wishing it to “happen”.
“Since the UPA II was the last government that completed its tenure, that odium attached to the government. Wait for any government to complete its term of five years, the same odium will attach to that government as well,” he said during a discussion at the Tata Literature Live festival.
“I am not wishing it happens, but it will happen,” said Chidambaram, who was a key figure in the UPA regime.
“The point is, yes I know that the UPA 2 had acquired, by the time its term came to an end, a reputation for many many corrupt deeds. But unless some one is actually convicted and punished, I am not willing to accept that he or she is guilty,” the former home minister said.
He said today what is being made out is that “everyone is presumed guilty until he is proven innocent, which I think is wrong, as it will destroy the rule of law in this country.”
Touching upon the issue of corruption, the Congress Rajya Sabh member said the main reasons for major graft “are greed as against the need for funding elections”.
“In the case of a political person, or a political party, it is the need to fund elections, which drives what you describe as corruption. Unless you find the ways to fund elections, you will not be able to bring down that scale of corruption,” he said.
Chidambaram claimed demonetisation was a “dismal” failure as far as curbing fake currency was concerned.
“If you want to know where demonetisation has failed, if you are not able to curb corruption, if you are not able to curb black money...just go to or stay in (poll-bound) Gujarat for over the next 20 days, and you will know the kind of money that is being spent there,” he alleged.
He said the Modi government could recover fake currency only to the tune of Rs 41 crore, which accounted for only 0.0027 per cent of the total currency that came back into the system following notes ban.
“Demonetisation to the extent of eliminating fake currency is a dismal failure,” Chidambaram claimed.
Disputing the government’s claims that notes ban had helped curb terrorism, he said, “As of November 10, the number of infiltrations, the number of militants neutralised, the number of civilians killed and the number of jawans martyred, all are larger than the numbers for the corresponding period in 2016.” (With PTI Inputs)