Says, country needs visionaries not magicians

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday took a dig indirectly at Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi by likening him to a magician attempting to hoodwink people with a magic wand.

Without naming Mr. Modi, he said: “Some people emerge from nowhere like magicians and talk as if they will change everything with their wand or with something like Alauddin’s magic lamp. But I do not believe in such magicians. The country needs visionaries, not magicians.”

He was addressing a function organised by Canara Bank at Tirumangalam near here to distribute education and other loans to the tune of Rs.134.49 crore to 23,578 beneficiaries from Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Theni, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar and Dindigul.

Mr. Chidambaram said that only a few such as former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi could be termed as visionaries for it was they who worked with farsightedness and were instrumental in establishing public sector industries besides nationalising select private banks.

Asking people to test their leaders on the basis of the vision the latter have, he said that the Food Security Act and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme were proof for the good work being done by the incumbent Congress-led government in the Centre.

“Alike the white and green revolutions, the country is now undergoing an educational revolution with nationalised banks expected to have an outstanding amount of Rs. 70,000 crore granted towards education loans alone by the end of March 31, 2014,” he said.

Further stating that one out of every four education loans granted in the country went to a student in Tamil Nadu, he said it would have a consequential impact on employment too with one out of every four employed graduates being a Tamil in the near future.

Chairman and Managing Director of Canara Bank R.K. Dubey said that the beneficiaries of loan distribution included 11,107 women of whom 27 had been granted loans to purchase auto-rickshaws. Education loans had been sanctioned to 14,020 students, including 6,510 women.

N.S.V. Chithan and B. Manickam Tagore, Members of Parliament representing Dindigul and Virudhunagar constituencies; the bank’s Executive Director V.S. Krishnakumar and General Manager (Madurai circle) K. Lakshmipathikumar also spoke.