In an interview on India Today TV, former Union Minister Arun Shourie told Karan Thapar that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on key issues amid growing intolerance in the country was a political decision aimed at winning the Bihar elections.
“He kept silent on the Dadri incident and incidents like the killing of two Dalit children (in Haryana)… He is keeping silent while his party colleagues and ministers are keeping the issues alive,” he said.
Pointing out that PM Modi tweets ‘inconsequentially’, Shourie adds that Modi can’t have it both ways. “You are a very strong leader but cannot control your members,” said Shourie.
Reacting to the BJP’ reply that the Prime Minister could not be expected to speak on every issue, Shourie said:
“Prime Minister is not a section officer of the homoeopathy department. He is not head of a department. He is the Prime Minister. He has to show the country the moral path. He has to set moral standards.”
Just a day back, Finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that PM Modi has become the worst victim of ideological intolerance.
Shourie termed it dangerous and said, “Designating Modi as a victim of intolerance is the most dangerous thing to do because it will give him grounds to be vengeful.”
Supporting the increasing number of artists, filmmakers, writers and scientists who are returning their awards as a protest against intolerance in the country, he said:
“It is the Gandhian thing to do. In August 1921, Congress appealed to the people those who have titles should return them.”
Quoting Pakistani poet Habib Jalib, Shourie says, Tum se pehle woh jo ek shakhs yahan takht-nasheen tha uss ko bhi apne khuda hone pe itna hi yaqeen tha (Even before you there was a ruler who also believed that he was God).
Shourie also criticised those in the government who had described critics of Modi as “rabid” and “intolerant”, saying they themselves had “not read a single book in 20 years.”
Watch the full interview here: