New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday hit out at Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, saying he represented "crony capitalism" and big businesses which liked it, supported him.
"Modi is associated with crony capitalists. Big businesses which are comfortable with the idea support him," he said.
The Finance Minister sought to present a rosy picture of the economy under the UPA regime.
"The year will end with a fiscal deficit of 4.6 per cent as planned. The current account deficit is much smaller, perhaps about USD 35 billion. The economy is stable. No one talks about the downgrade anymore. Our biggest success has been in containing the fiscal deficit. We have moderated inflation, but there is some distance to go. The economy today is far more stable and stronger than it was three years ago," Chidambaram said.
Taking a dig at opposition BJP, Chidambaram said that Indian economy was at its worst during 2000-2002 when Yashwant Sinha was the Finance Minister.
"The two years that recorded the worst growth were 2000 and 2002. The finance minister of that time, Yashwant Sinha, is now a distant memory, and I hope it stays that way," he said.
"The Sensex celebrated when Yashwant Sinha refused to contest elections and it celebrated again when the BJP expelled Jaswant Singh," the 69-year-old said, continuing his acerbic attack.
Chidambaram also said that he was in favour of hiking the gas prices, adding that there was no need to refer the issue to the Election Commission.
"It is my view that there is no obligation of the concerned ministry to refer this decision to the Election Commission as this was cleared in the Cabinet. There is no case to revisit the Cabinet decsion. It is the right decision and I would defend it," he said.
The Congress veteran also clarified that he will not retire from politics. "I know what I want to do with my life. I will continue to work with the Congress. I am not retiring," he said.