Narendra Modi is not bigger than Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Chidambaram

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday that it was gross exaggeration to say that the Gujarat Chief Minister was sweeping the countryside.

Last Updated: Oct 08, 2013, 23:18 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: While conceding that BJP`s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, has united the rank and file of BJP, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday that it was gross exaggeration to say that the Gujarat Chief Minister was sweeping the countryside.

Talking to a news agency, the senior Congress leader said, "I concede he (Narendra Modi) has united the rank and file of BJP. Leaders are divided but the rank and file have been united." However he added, "Gross exaggeration to say that Modi is sweeping countryside and will win in every state."

He also said that Modi was not bigger than BJP leader and former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. "In 2004 no one gave us a chance. People said Vajpayee will be back in power. I don`t think Narendra Modi is bigger than Vajpayee," he maintained, adding, "Vajpayee was sitting PM seeking re-election, his party lost. We had not even named a PM candidate at that time." At the same time he said that Modi was also not bigger than LK Advani, who was the BJP`s PM candidate in 2009 General Elections.

Chidambaram also warned everyone not to write off the Congress so early. "Don’t write us off early. We aren`t facing a Vajpayee today. We are facing a Narendra Modi who has a very chequered track record," he said.

On the issue of corruption, the Finance Minister accepted that corruption was indeed an issue. "But it is an issue in Chhattisgarh, MP. It was an issue in Karnataka and is an issue in Gujarat," he said.