New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Shourie, who was once an admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday criticised the Prime Minister's Office saying that "there is clearer belief (in the present dispensation) that managing economy means managing the headlines and this is not really going to work."
Shourie made the comments during a book launch. The function to launch 'Turn of The Tortoise', a book written by former Business Standard editor-in-chief TN Ninan, was attended by Manmohan Singh, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subranamian and former foreign secretary Shyam Saran.
Shourie, a minister in the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, sharply criticised the Modi government saying, “People have started recalling the days of 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 charaterise policies of the government is -- Congress plus a cow. Policies are the same," Shourie said.
Ever since Modi came to power, the PMO is considered to be very efficient and the most powerful office. However, the senior BJP leader feels the other way. He said, “I feel there was never a weaker a PMO as now".
He said "there has never been as great a centralisation of functions, not power, of functions in PMO as now. ...If fellows don't don't have domain expertise, that Brajesh Mishra had, LK Jha had, all these principal secretaries had, then things get stuck."
Shourie said, "everybody is busy and everybody is doing very hard work, but it is not resulting in two there big things that was problem at that time(UPA government time)."
Elaborating, he 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 very generous metaphor. Ye to so hi jata hai (this tortoise goes to sleep)."
"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," Shourie claimed.
Shourie noted that Parliament has become alibi for not doing anything.
While taking digs at the Modi government, Shourie said it should embrace everybody instead of fighting.
"Don't get into fight with everyone. If you want to build Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, you require support of 5 Chief Ministers," he said.
(With PTI inputs)