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Saturday, 8 November 2014

PM should have scrapped 2G licences: P Chidambaram.......

NEW DELHI: Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said the 2G issue could have been handled differently and had the UPA government got the economy right in 2013, the election results would have been very different, though BJP would still have emerged as the number one party.
Arun Jaitley, who was also present at the event, strongly defended allegations on the role of Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots. 

Responding to question at a discussion during a book launch function, Chidambaram said "I think 2G could have been handled differently in the sense that the Prime Minister could have put his foot down and said I am sorry, I will not let you go forward with the first-come first-serve (FCFS) route.'' On why the then government did not cancel the licences, Chidambaram said the decision was taken to wait for the court verdict. "These are the matters which do not come to the Cabinet.

These are ideas which are discussed informally.'' "I think ideas were suggested and considered. I always believed it was a pretty simple decision rather than suffer any judgement and then try to work out consequences. Or after licences had been granted and issue was brought up, he (PM) could have said cancel licences without waiting for the judgement.

It hurt us. My personal view was once this came out as a scandal of bandwidth allotment, the government should have cancelled all the licences without waiting for the Supreme Court (judgement)," he said. Pitching for reversal of the infamous retrospective amendment to tax indirect transfers, Chidambaram said if his government had absolute majority, he would have reversed it. "I feel let down. We have not had that kind of government with aboslute single-party majority in 30 years.

You have one today, 282 members belonging to single party. This was a time to take hard decisions. With 282, I would have reversed the retrospective tax. It required a simple amendment to income tax saying you pay income-tax and I'll waive penalty and interests. I am sure Vodafone would have jumped at it. People of India did not vote against us for retro-taxation. The investor sentiment could have been reversed. I was expecting Arun (finance minister Arun Jaitley) would reverse it.

Jaitley, who was also present at the event, strongly defended allegations on the role of Modi in the 2002 Gujarat riots. "The Gujarat government was not responsible for the start of the 2002 Godhra riots. It started in a railway bogie," he said. The country was fed up with the indecisive UPA government when Modi came across as determined leader, Jaitley said. He said the government's plate is full with reform agenda and it is very clear on which ones to take first.