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PC fires shots at 'friends'

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 19:35 IST
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Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday launched an indirect attack on some of the government's coalition partners and allies,  "obliquely" cautioning a "minority group" for holding hostage key programmes of the government.

Chidambaram also advocated the cause for hammering out a "pre-election governance paradigm" among coalition partners allowing enough room to innovate and experiment in areas falling outside the minimum programme. "As long as a coalition government adheres to the CMP, it must have the freedom in other areas to adopt policies - consistent with policy positions of the leading party, assuming that it can win the support of the participating members of the coalition government," he said delivering the JRD Tata Memorial Lecture organised by Assocham here.

Chidambaram also struck a strident note on the pitfalls associated with "outside support" and praised the erstwhile NDA government for successfully managing "differences in the coalition to last a full term." "A coalition runs the risk of turning into an extreme form of deliberative democracy…. The knowledge that the final decision can be held hostage to a minority point of view, or can be indefinitely delayed, may encourage the minority to take an aggressive stand and hold up the process itself," he said.

According to Chidambaram, the NDA did not depend upon "outside support". "Its (NDA's) stability could have been threatened only by internal dissension among the power sharing partners; that it was not, is a testimony to its ability to manage and contain differences," he said. Chidambaram's comments are significant in the context of some key decisions that has been hanging fire for quite some time, ostensibly because of differences among the coalition partners and allies.

While the divestment programme has been put on hold reportedly after the DMK objected to the Neyvelli equity sell-off, the banking reforms have hit a Left road block.