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Cordiality missing in current political discourse: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Sitharaman made references to Vaghul's frequent run-ins with the political executive

Nirmala SitaRaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Abhijit LelePress Trust of India Mumbai

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday rued the lack of cordiality in the current political discourse, saying she cannot “imagine giving a cup of coffee to a (member of the) rival camp”.

Recalling an incident, Sitharaman said during a heated debate in Tamil Nadu assembly with Communist leader P Ramamurthi, Congress leader Chakravarti Rajagopalachari requested his rival to stop and offered a cup of coffee. “I can’t imagine giving a cup of coffee (now)… it can be grossly misunderstood,” Sitharaman said, speaking at the launch of veteran banker N Vaghul’s book “Reflections” here.

Those days, there was some kind of personal regard for one another. However bitter people were in assemblies and Parliament, they had a certain level of care and concern, the finance minister said.

Sitharaman made references to Vaghul’s frequent run-ins with the political executive.

For 40 years, each government competed with the previous one for showing that they are more socialist than the dispensation that preceded it, she said. 

She said Vaghul’s book expresses concern on the overbearing role of the government in business activities and hopes that one day, people will come up with a meaningful way of significantly reducing the same.

She said for the first time in the country’s history, the Budget presented by her in 2021 had a mention of the word “privatisation”, thanks to the backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“He (Modi) has that vision to say that ‘the government should not be in business where it has no business’. The work to actually give it a frame, a structure and right language within a document of the government happened in 2021,” she added. 

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First Published: Apr 28 2023 | 9:25 PM IST

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