Modi’s Criticism by Arun Shourie

Arun Shourie, a highly respected politician & thinker of the BJP has criticised the government. The allegations have been enumerated & analysed to check their validity:

Allegations & Analysis:

Modi, Jaitley & Shah are monopolizing decision making in the government

Modi has been accused of being an autocrat by nature & uncomfortable with strong leaders around him. Performance of Rajnath Singh as Home Minister, Gadkari as Transport Minister, Parrikar as Defence Minister, Prabhu as Railway Minister & Piyush Goyal as Power Minister has been good. Smriti Irani has been rewarded for loyalty & not competence, which is wrong. Induction of more talent is needed. The allegation lacks validity.

Economic policy is lacking the big picture

Economic policy is apparently holistic, having a long term vision as per the opinion of most competent commentators. The pace of reforms has been conservative. More was possible in fields like disinvestment, & reduction of subsidies. Overall the allegation is invalid.

Investment climate has not improved. Concerns remain about stability & clarity in taxation policy

Fiscal deficit targets were met by non-growth promoting measures like cutting down on plan & capital spending. The MAT demand has gravely affected investments. Efforts are on to improve ease of doing business, but progress is slow. I am too unqualified a judge on the subject, but in my opinion the allegation is justified.

CIC & CVC have been choked

There is no head of CIC or CVC. UPA government was rightly accused of trying to choke the RTI Act. The situation has not improved under Modi either. Corruption has been drastically cut down at the highest level. However, it remains very much present in the system. The most important cause is use of unaccounted money in elections. The allegation is valid.

Modi’s silence on “love jihad” and “ghar wapsi”, was sending a wrong message and could disrupt harmony and national security

The allegation is valid. Modi needs to speak more against these radicals.

Unclear policy on Pakistan

The policy as regards Pakistan was begun on the note of robust response to border incidents & no talks till Pakistan stops support to cross border terrorists. This has since changed, without any visible change from Pakistan. Pakistani leaders are free to meet Hurriyat separatists. Gen VK Singh attended the Pakistan Day celebrations reluctantly. There seems to be a gradual drift back to the past UPA government’s policy. The allegation is valid.

Mistakes for loss of Delhi elections have not been investigated & lessons learnt

The allegation is valid. Top leadership should be open to scrutiny & internal criticism. This should be the strength of democracy.

Land bill should not have been proposed in Parliament

The land bill is very important & should get passed. The Congress has unfortunately succeeded in creating the impression that BJP is a pro corporate & anti farmer government. BJP has a lot of ground to cover as regards impression management.

Conclusion

Modi should take Shourie’s criticism in a positive manner. There have been considerable achievements in one year. The most important in my view is elimination of corruption at the top. A lot still needs to be done. Efforts should be made to:

  • Increase the pace of economic reforms.
  • Come out strongly against Hindu radicals.
  • Maintain a clear policy as regards Pakistan.
  • Resolve issues like MAT.
  • Appoint CIC & CVC & allow democratic institutions to function effectively.
  • Keep him & the other top leaders open to internal scrutiny & criticism.
  • Improve impression management & not get branded as, “Suit-boot ki sarkar”!

We as citizens & observers should realize that there will invariably be differences between opinions of intellectuals like Shourie & mass leaders like Modi.

The former is clear about what needs to be done, while the latter realizes as to how much can be done, while still retaining mass support.

You can read my opinions on other Political matters also.

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