Saying that he “liked” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and believed “he was the man today”, former disinvestment minister Arun Shourie Friday took a swipe at the Central government and the BJP, saying that today, they consist of only three people — Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and party chief Amit Shah, who have “frightened not just the allies but their own group”.
Shourie further said that “no corrective action” is taking place because even if these three take a wrong decision, they are also the “supreme court” who deliver the judgment on it.
“I think, today the government of India and the party consists of three persons — Modi, Jaitley and Amit Shah… They work as a team. The three persons are not getting feedback from elsewhere. Secondly, they’ve frightened not just the allies but their own group — the extended party, etc,” Shourie said, talking to Karan Thapar on the show, To The Point, on Headlines Today.
“Third problem is, as in all political parties, if I take a wrong decision and the consequences are terrible — let’s just say I get Kiran Bedi in… in Delhi, we lose. It’s regarded at that time as a master stroke of the master strategist and then you are slapped by the Delhi people — three seats out of 70. Who’s to now decide that some wrong decision was taken? The same three. So no corrective action takes place,” Shourie said.
If that was a comment on the substance of the party, he also talked about the style. On whether wearing a suit with his name monogrammed on it was a lapse of judgement or a critical mistake by Modi, Shourie said, “Lapses of judgments can be very critical mistakes. I cannot understand which person would have gifted him that suit. I can never understand how he chose to accept that gift or wear it. The point is, you cannot take Gandhiji’s name and wear such a thing. So I don’t how it happened. And it was very good that he got rid of it very quickly.”
“I like him very much. I think he is the man today… the only person who can give us that leadership, but this kind of thing is incomprehensible,” he added.
Asked about Modi’s silence on issues such as “love jihad” or delayed interventions on matters such as religious conversions, Shourie said, “If you are sending out tweets on Sania Mirza’s victory… and wishing somebody birthday. And then you don’t do it on such an important thing… churches or love-jihad, then draw an inference, which is not good.”
“Either you are not speaking at all, then people don’t expect you to speak anything — like with Narasimha Rao… Vinoba Bhave. When Mr Modi’s government acts very quickly in Srinagar floods… or on Nepal, he provides that kind of leadership. But when on moral questions, he is seen as silent, then people wonder why he is not speaking,” he added.
Slamming the government for being “satisfied because you are able to manage headlines”, Shourie said that when the “gap between projection and performance is so vast, people see only the distance… they don’t see the five good things you have done”. He suggested that the government should adopt a “lower profile”, “embrace others” and “seek their cooperation”.
On Modi’s handling of the bureaucracy, Shourie said that while “some officers are certainly giving a very good account of themselves and are able to put in good work day and night”, the general feeling is that “ everything has to be sent to the PMO”.
Shourie further said that while everybody is focussing on the number of seats this government has won, it was also important to focus on the fact that they “have come to Delhi with 31 per cent of the votes”.
“If you, or those speaking on your behalf, push the two-thirds together then you are only one-third,” he said, adding that this had already started happening and the Delhi elections were an example.