Two days after the dust has settled over the unnecessary hype created by the first Budget presented by the Modi Government, who is having the last laugh?
It is dear Chiddu, the former Finance Minister P Chidambaram who has hit out at his successor Arun Jaitley by saying that far from making a Congress Mukt Bharat the NDA had not even been able to present a Congress Mukt Budget.
He has said in one line what writers like Chetan Bhagat have taken a whole article to reiterate. Except for those who want to ingratiate themselves with the new set up for their own interests almost all neutral experts have maintained that BUDGET 2104 has nothing new to offer.
There have been two explanations for this approach by a tired and over-worked Arun Jaitley who had to take a break between his budget speech after which he had to sit down to complete the rest of his proposals.
One argument is that Jaitley had been cautioned by the omnipresent and omniscient RSS bosses to avoid contentious issues like labour reforms and retrospective taxes among others. That is why Chetan Bhagat had to remind the Finance Minister – no risk go gain.
On the practical side what must have weighed heavily on the Jaitley’s mind was that the NDA was in the minority in the Rajya Sabha and parties including TMC, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were only waiting to get their own back at Modi. Getting controversial proposals cleared by the Rajya Sabha would be a daunting task in the current scenario.
Apart from the fact that both Chiddu and Jaitley are prominent lawyers and have been so for many years I know for sure from own sources that they might be on opposite sides in political debates but they have a sneaking admiration for each other.
Chidambaram says that he was thankful to Jaitley for acknowledging the basic numbers presented by his Interim Budget in February. So sure was Chidambaram of his facts and figures at that time that I had written in an earlier write up that any one who can take on an irritating anchor like Karan Thapar who grilled him in his favourite lair ‘Devil’s Advocate’ knew his figures like the back of his hand.
What surprises Chidambaram and many other commentators like me was the total absence of any humour or shero-shayri in Jaitley’s long boring speech unlike the speeches of earlier Finance Ministers.
Pictures of a normally vivacious and alert Smriti Irani and tired Kalraj Mishra dozing off in the middle of the budget speech doing the rounds on social networking sites are proof that the RSS should allow their representatives in parliament to open their mouth to laugh and smile also not just spew venom at the Gandhi family.
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