Even as BJP leaders are scrambling for reasons to show that the NDA's defeat in Bihar elections is not a referendum on the prime minister, former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram has said that there is still time for Narendra Modi to make a course correction to push through the economic reforms.
"The PM is the leader of a party which has an absolute majority in Parliament. There are two-three weeks (more for the Winter Session to start). He has time to correct the course," Chidambaram told the CNN-IBN in an interview.
He was answering a question on the likely impact of the results on the forthcoming Parliament session and the reform bills that are required to be passed.
As of 11:57 am, CNN-IBN data showed the Mahaghatbandhan alliance lead by JD(U) leading in 161 seats and the BJP-lead NDA in just 70 seats. The BJP has conceded defeat in the elections and PM Modi has congratulated Nitish Kumar, the leader of the Grand Alliance, for his landslide win. Political and economic commentators have been keenly watching the elections as a victory in the state would have given a major impetus to the slow-paced reforms initiated by the NDA at the Centre.
Some of the critical reform bills like the much-awaited tax reform GST are stuck in Parliament owing to the opposition from the Congress and other parties. The BJP has even called Rahul Gandhi the single major hurdle on the road to key reforms.
However, Chidambaram dismissed this allegation saying government itself has to be blamed for the present situation in Parliament.
He also said the Congress is not doing the same thing that the BJP did when the it was in the Opposition by stalling both Houses of parliament and blocking the GST law.
"The Congress is not doing the same thing that BJP did. The BJP's was unreasoned, blunt and mindless opposition to the GST," he said adding, the Congress has seven specific objections to the bill. He also claimed that in fact it was he who asked the Congress to narrow down the objections.
He also said the attitude of the BJP and the government towards the Congress needs to change. Referring to the ongoing debate on intolerance, he questioned the BJP's stance that the protest against the rising intolerance is a manufactured one.
"These are remarks that reflect the autocratic attitude. That is the problem for the government," he told the CNN-IBN.
He also said the Bihar results will give more confidence for non-BJP political parties.
"There is still time for (PM to make) a course correction. Whether he will do it or not I cannot say," he said.
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Updated Date: Nov 08, 2015 13:12:23 IST