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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Chidambaram denies prime ministerial aspirations

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 24, 2013
First Published: 11:29 IST(24/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:19 IST(25/4/2013)

Finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said that he had no aspirations of becoming India's Prime Minister and would rather carry out assignments for the Congress party.

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"I have no such expectations. I have no such aspiration and I believe that in the few years that remain to me, I want to do (a) few other things, like travel," Chidambaram said The Economist's India summit here.

He was responding to a specific question on who would be his preferred choice for a finance minister if he becomes the Prime Minister after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"The first part of the question, I reject it out of hand... Therefore, if I reject the first assumption out of hand, the second question does not arise. But I can certainly recommend you many other names to the new Prime Minister," he said in a lighter vein.

Chidambaram added that he would like to "remain a worker of the Congress party."

"I did not have enough opportunity to work at party level, except for brief period when I was general secretary of state Congress party. I want to prove that I can also do party work.

"I would do whatever the party asks me to do... I sincerely hope the party will allow me to travel, read and write," he said.

He said the government was committed to get the economy going, signalling an ambitious fightback to spur growth adding that more reform measures were round the corner in the next two to four months.

"There is much more to be done. The remaining bills have to be passed. There are many more executive actions that have to be taken... Some of these are executive actions which we will take in the next 2-4 months," Chidambaram said.

He ruled out early elections and said the government could roll out the goods and services tax (GST) before the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for next year.

"We need to open our economy more. We have to give more space for FDI," he said.

He also said the current account deficit, which had hit a record high of 6.7% in the quarter-ending December 31, 2012, is "worrying."

"The satisfying aspect of this is that we have financed it completely without drawing down our reserves. There have been copious inflows," he said.


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