In a sharp attack on the Narendra Modi government, BJP leader Arun Shourie on Monday contended that it believes that managing economy means “managing the headlines” and that people had started recalling the days of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“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,” Mr. Shourie said at book launch function.
The function to launch Turn of The Tortoise, a book written by former Business Standard Editor-in-Chief T. N. Ninan, was attended by Manmohan Singh, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subranamian and former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran.
Pointing out differences between the present and the previous governments, Mr. 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.”
Mr. Shourie, who was a Minister in the Vajpayee government, said: “I feel there was never a weaker a PMO as now… 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.”
Mr. Shourie said, “If you see impediments that were there in tax administration, virtually no change… Banking reform has been delayed by year and a half for no reason. So therefore this tortoise is a very generous metaphor. Ye to so hi jata hai (this tortoise goes to sleep).”
He claimed that industrialists are afraid of speaking against the government. “The industrialists who meet the Prime Minister don’t speak the whole truth. After meeting PM, they say ‘please do something’ And in front of the media they give the government 9 out of 10.”