New Delhi: BJP on Saturday drew a parallel between former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for the way they helmed India`s economic policies, crediting the former`s leadership for 1991 economic reforms amid adverse circumstances.
Citing Rao`s decisive stand on reforms and Modi`s strong leadership in Gujarat, BJP leader Arun Jaitley argued the country needs a hardcore politician as a leader "who really can show the direction and implement decisions...".
Arguing that a decisive political leadership is a necessary prerequisite to govern India, he said "I think that also answers the basic question which I raised when I mentioned 1991 India under Narsimha Rao or Gujarat under Modi and compared it with examples of what happened in the last few years in Delhi".
The Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha suggested that reforms for Rao were more difficult than that for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and hailed Rao for "breaking the trend" by kick-starting reforms as his Congress party believed in regulation.
Speaking at the the launch of a book, ModiNomics, which is about the economic policies Modi pursued in Gujarat, Jaitley said the recent history has not been kind to Rao and the "good turning point" in the economy came when he became PM after "wasted" 70s and 80s.
"For Vajpayee as a BJP prime minister to move ahead with reforms was relatively easier because it was a natural part of his party`s ideological thinking but for a man (Rao) who belonged to a party (Congress) which did believe in regulation to break the trend...," he said.
"When objective history is written, the 70s and 80s would be probably rated as the wasted opportunity and a good turning point came when Rao was the PM," Jaitley said.
The compliments for Rao from BJP came a day after former Union Minister K Natwar Singh said Rao as a PM felt "insulted" by Sonia Gandhi as she "felt" that the trial of Rajiv Gandhi`s killers was not proceeding fast enough.
Jaitley said the Gujarat model of development is largely about effectiveness of leadership in implementing policies for investment, growth, job-creation and revenue-generation and that is where Modi provided the "cutting edge".
"This is what made the difference.... At the end of the day, for any manager of political economy, it`s your ability to understand the direction in which you want to move. How do you accelerate the pace of the movement?
"How do you push that decision-making process? How do you attune the entire system to move in that direction? I think it is that clarity which is necessary," he said.
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s leadership, he said history would have recorded it differently if he had stepped in to prevent tainted allocations of 2G spectrum or coal blocks allocation when everybody was writing to him against them.
"We paid very heavily by not having the natural leader of the country or at least the party as PM. Your ability to have the last word, your ability to be decisive, your ability to take unpopular decisions... All that gets diluted if in the normal course you are not a practitioner of politics," he said.
The lesson from Singh`s 10-year rule is that "India can`t not afford a non-politician as PM. The world`s largest democracy can`t be run by a CEO. Companies can be run," he said.