India cannot afford a non-politician as PM again: Jaitley

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that India cannot afford a non-politician as prime minister and the world`s largest democracy can`t be run on the pattern of corporates.

PTI| Updated: Dec 21, 2013, 20:37 PM IST

New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Saturday said that India cannot afford a non-politician as prime minister and the world`s largest democracy can`t be run on the pattern of corporates.

"India cannot afford a non-politician as a prime minister... India must now realise that this whole experiment, (where) you can have corporates running in this manner, you can`t have the world`s largest democracy running in this manner," Jaitley said addressing top industry leaders at the FICCI annual general meeting here.

He said prime ministers are never judged by the number of years they remain in office, but by the decisions they give as far as economy is concerned.

"Prime ministership is not like an employment. Prime ministers must always have the last word in a government. Prime ministers must be the natural leaders of the country, certainly of their own party and the government.

"Prime ministers can never look helpless. Prime ministers can never go back with the feeling that I`m not being allowed to deliver," Jaitley said.

Commenting on the UPA style of governance where the prime minister did not have the last word, he said, "You created systems outside the normal government and those systems outside were at variance with the directions which are required to be given to the economy."

The opposition leader said the corruption and "policy paralysis" that gripped the present government has hit the "brand India` image internationally and this has resulted in the reversal of the investment cycle.

Calling for restoring and reviving the investment cycle, Jaitley said, "This whole movement will have to stop...All this is hurting brand India, the image of India, the investment image of India and that`s where we need a Prime Minister who says this is not acceptable."

The BJP leader also hit out at the UPA for relying on potential "populism" schemes in order to pursue its politics. "I think that myth has been widely demolished," he said referring to the recent assembly election results where the BJP scored big victories.

"If you thought that you only have only some schemes which you think are extremely popular and that alone will make you win elections, so all the slogans of the recent months have absolutely no impact as far as the electorate was concerned. Because the electorate was looking at something much more, which was effective governance. Which was looking at government with an image," he said.

Jaitley said the electorate was not looking at certain schemes aimed at wooing a section but "effective" governance.

"Good governance alone may not help you to win. Good governance blended with some clever politics may help you to win. But bad governance certainly will make you lose," he said.

He, however, said if India has grown at 8 to 9 per cent despite "inadequate" governments, it has the potential to grow still higher.

Expressing optimism, he said, "I think we have come to a stage that the only silver lining is that things can`t go worse."

The BJP leader said the people of the country now want a change and the assembly election results were an indication to this effect.

On the need for social sector schemes aimed at eradicating poverty, Jaitley said such schemes are certainly required to uplift the 400 million people who are still living below poverty in the country.

"You have a market economy but with a social conscience. That is the model which broadly governments in some large or small measures have followed...But poverty alleviation schemes on a so-called social consciousness was almost read synonymously as a system on which you purchase votes," he said.

He also hit out the government for blaming the opposition for not allowing Parliament to function due to which important decisions were held up and said 90 per cent of the decisions to be taken were executive in nature and not due to legislative reasons. "I don`t think alibis for failure should be available to governments at present," he said.

On the issue of Goods & Services Tax (GST), Jaitley said a consensus was eluding the government as states feel that the Centre is "unfair" to them.

"If you are looking for political confrontation, morning and evening, you cannot build a consensus on economic issues," he said.

Jaitley said no amount of jingoism can make up the image of the country. "Image will not depend on jingoistic statements but on how the nation is being governed."

He also described the UPA government as a "dead duck government".

Referring to Congress debacle in the recently concluded assembly polls, he said, despite the party highlighting its social welfare initiatives, the larger message that the results gave was that state governments can beat anti-incumbency if they govern well.

He also accused the UPA government of failing to evolve consensus on economic decisions and said there was no dialogue left with the opposition due to the "confrontationist" approach of the government.