New Delhi: Former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who celebrated his 74th birthday at Tihar jail, here on Monday mocked the Narendra Modi government’s plan to achieve $5 trillion economy mark by 2024, saying no country had achieved 8 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth without exports increasing at 20 per cent.
On his birthday, Chidambaram said greetings from friends, party colleagues and well-wishers remind him that he was 74-years young.
Chidambaram, lodged in jail in connection with the INX media case since September 5, in a series of tweets said, “I have asked my family to tweet on my behalf the following: My family have brought me greetings from friends, party colleagues and well-wishers. I am reminded that I am 74-years-old. Indeed I am, but at heart I feel 74-years young. Thank you all, my spirits have been lifted.”
On economy, the former Finance Minister said, “My thoughts today are about the economy. Just one statistic tells the story. Export growth in August was 6.05 per cent. No country has achieved GDP growth of 8 per cent without exports growing at 20 per cent a year. May god bless this country.”
India’s exports in August declined 6.1 per cent to $26.13 billion and the GDP growth in April-June fell to 5 per cent from 5.8 per cent in the preceding quarter.
On September 5, while being taken to Tihar jail, responding to a question over his judicial custody, Chidambaram said, “5 per cent” taking a dig at the GDP rate. A Delhi court remanded him to 14-day judicial custody.
Greeting Chidambaram on his 74th birthday, Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal said he was sure the vendetta politics of the BJP government couldn’t defeat him. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. I am sure the vendetta politics can’t defeat you. Happy Birthday to P Chidambaram,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Karti Chidambaram penned an emotional letter on the occasion of the 74th birthday of his father, saying “no 56 can stop you”.
In a two-page letter posted on Twitter, Karti, said: “Although you have never been one for grand celebrations, and nowadays in the country, we seem to be making grand celebrations out of every little thing; your birthday is not the same without you with us. We miss you, your absence tugs at our hearts, and we wish you were back home to cut a cake with all of us.”
In a dig at the government celebration of 100 days in office, the Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu said, “But, of course, in today’s day and age, turning 74 is nothing compared to turning a 100 days old.”
However, life in jail has not been easy for the former Home Minister. He is unable to get his favourite idli, dosa, sambar, vada breakfast — something he relished all his life. He is forced to eat food cooked at the jail canteen.
Chidambaram who as the Finance Minister piloted bills worth crores is now virtually ‘cashless’.
A jail official told IANS that the kin of a prisoner could deposit a maximum of Rs 1,500 a week in the “Prisoner Welfare Fund”. The former Minister is using the facility to buy drinking water bottles from the canteen, and for shaving.