Continuing his verbal spat with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the union minister is working hard to boost the country’s revenues by imposing service tax on his speeches.
“The Finance Minister claims to be doing a lot of hard work. Last evening I was informed on what he is working so hard...to increase India’s revenue, he has decided to impose service tax on my speeches,” Mr. Modi said.
“Even my speeches are contributing to the nation and I am happy to know this,” he said while addressing a seminar on ‘Financial Services -- a key driver for economic growth’ at Gujarat International finance Tec-city (GIFT).
The central government should concentrate on job creation, Mr. Modi said.
The war of words between Mr. Modi and Mr. Chidambaram has been going on for some time now in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Mr. Chidambaram in an interview to PTI had on Tuesday said he does not want to indulge in class 8th school boys’ debate, in reply to criticism by the Gujarat Chief Minister for his interim budget.
Commenting on the vote-on-account presented by the Finance Minister, Mr. Modi had earlier tweeted: “The only solace one gets from the vote-on-account is that this was UPA’s final act of misery after a decade of decay and policy paralysis.”
“It is up to the people to decide whether the Economist PM & FM have been ‘hard working’ or ‘hardly working’ in their tenure,” Mr. Modi had said in another tweet.
Earlier, Mr. Chidambaram had said that Mr. Modi’s knowledge on economy can be written behind a postal stamp.
Replying to that criticism, Mr. Modi had accused Mr. Chidambaram of mishandling economy and taunted him a few days ago saying that high growth rate in Gujarat was because of his hard work and not education in Harvard University.
Mr. Chidambaram had hit back at Mr. Modi in his interim Budget speech saying, “My mother and Harvard taught me the value of hard work.”
The Central Excise Department had demanded payment of service tax by BJP on tickets for entry to Modi’s rallies.
However, that notice was dropped once the news came in media on Tuesday.