The Narendra Modi-led government has once again come under sharp attack, but this time from one of their own.
BJP leader Arun Shourie made caustic remarks against the Prime Minister accusing his government of “managing the headlines” on the pretext of managing the economy.
Shourie said that the people had started recalling the days of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who he called “wise”.
Comparing Dr Singh’s government to Modi’s government, Shourie said that they have now started adding a cow to every debate, he said:
“Doctor Singh (Manmohan Singh) ko log yaad karne lag gaye hain (People have started recalling the days of Manmohan Singh). The way to characterise policies of the government is — Congress plus a cow. Policies are the same.”
Shourie was speaking at a book launch function, which was also attended by Manmohan Singh, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subranamian and former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.
While pointing out the differences between the two governments, Shourie said:
“There is clearer belief (in the present dispensation) that managing economy means managing the headlines and this is not really going to work. I feel there was never a weaker a PMO as now.”
Comparing the current BJP government to that of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, Shourie said that there has “never been as great a centralisation of functions, not power, of functions in PMO as now”.
“If fellows don’t have domain expertise, that Brajesh Mishra had, L.K. Jha had, all these principal secretaries had, then things get stuck,” he said.
He pointed out that despite the fact that everyone in the government is busy, no concrete progress is happening.
“If you see impediments that were there in tax administration, virtually no change,” he said adding, “Banking reform has been delayed by year and a half for no reason. So therefore this tortoise is very generous metaphor. Ye to so hi jata hai (this tortoise goes to sleep).”
Shourie did not spare the industrialists too. He said that they were afraid in speaking up to the government.
“The industrialists who meet the Prime Minister don’t speak whole truth. After meeting PM, they wonder what is happening and say ‘please do something’. And in front of media they give the government 9 out of 10.”
While still taking digs at the current government, Shourie then gave them a word of advice and said they should not fight against every state government and should instead embrace them to get their support.
“In my head I would say please befriend, please impress. You cannot get up every morning and get into a boxing match.”
Praising Shourie, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari agreed with the “grabbing headlines” remark.
“This government has done nothing other than making false promises to the people in the last 16 months. They have been keen to make headlines than running the government,” Tiwari told ANI.