This Article is From Jan 23, 2014

If you can't govern, just quit: P Chidambaram's message to Arvind Kejriwal

Finance Minister P Chidambaram at Davos economic forum.

Davos: Seasoned politician and Finance Minister P Chidambaram had a word of advice today for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who staged a two-day protest that gridlocked Delhi this week.

"If you are in government, you must govern. If you can't govern, just quit...You can't mask your inability to govern by street agitations," said Mr Chidambaram during an NDTV discussion on the India Outlook at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He had a joke to share: "Somebody sent me an SMS. It said Vishnu told Arjun go do your dharma, but he told Kejriwal, go do your dharna."

There was little levity, however, when Mr Chidambaram said about Mr Kejriwal's protest against the Congress-led Centre and the Delhi Police, "The line that divides agitation and anarchy is a very thin line. They may have crossed it in the last few days." (Rahul Gandhi reportedly upset with Sushil Kumar Shinde for Arvind Kejriwal compromise)

The Congress provides external support to prop up the minority Kejriwal government in Delhi. Mr Chidambaram said the local unit of his party had decided to extend that support and that the party was divided on supporting AAP. (Congress an underdog in the 2014 polls: Chidambaram)


He did acknowledge the stunning debut made by Mr Kejriwal's party to topple the 15-year Congress rule in the recent Delhi elections. "The emergence of AAP is an urban rejection of mainstream parties," he said.

For main rival, the BJP, the senior Congress leader has reserved his harshest criticism, accusing it, earlier in the day, of having a "retrograde and regressive" economic policy.

"I have not heard a set of policies from the BJP that translates into a coherent macroeconomic policy," Mr Chidambaram said.