The 73-year-old journalist-turned politician said the one-year rule of Modi is "good in parts", his transformation as Prime Minister is good in foreign policy, but the promised turnaround in economy has not happened.

"The government seems to be more concerned with managing headlines than putting policies in place. The situation is like the many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle lying in a mess with no big picture in mind about how to put them together," he said in an interview.

Shourie, who is not active in BJP these days, said despite promises the fears of foreign investors on retrospective taxes and incentives for manufacturing have not materialised on the ground.

"They (investors) require stability and predictability," he said, adding that the concern expressed by eminent banker Deepak Parekh on the situation on the ground should be seen as a "wake up call".

Asked if the Modi government had done enough to put India on growth path, Shourie said that it was "all hyperbole". "Such claims are meant to grab headlines but lack substance," he said. Shourie handled the Ministries of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in the Vajpayee government.

"Government is talking big on economic matters but nothing is happening on ground. Delivery is missing," he added. In an apparent reference to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said the government lacked a stable approach in dealing with investors and that "lawyerly arguments" would not convince them.



On the social front, Shourie said there was "great anxiety" among the minorities in the wake of the incidents of attack on Christian institutions and the "Ghar Wapsi" and "Love Jihad" campaigns.

He was critical of Modi's "silence" on issues relating to social tensions on account of activities of right wing organisations and statements by some party MPs and leaders. "You tweet when Sania Mirza wins championship or greet someone on birthdays but you don't do such things when moral questions are involved. People doubt why he is silent," he added.

Shourie also invoked the controversial monogrammed pin-striped suit that Modi wore during his interaction with US President Barack Obama earlier this year. "It was inexplicable, incomprehensible and a big critical mistake," Shourie said. "I fail to understand why he accepted and then wore that suit. You cannot take Gandhiji's name and wear such a thing," he said, adding, it was good that he disposed it off quickly.

Shourie rued the delay in filling up top vacancies in key institutions like the CVC, the Central Information Commission and the Election Commission. "The vacancies are incomprehensible," he said.

Shourie disapproved of frequent promulgation of ordinances, calling them "ill advised".  The former minister also stressed the need for taking the Opposition along if the government wanted to push its economic reforms.

Speaking about the Modi government's foreign policy, Shourie said it has correctly regarded that China is the "principal challenge" for the country in the long run. But, he said there were "contradictory signals" on Pakistan. "There should be steadier thinking, steadier guage."

"It is not a good idea that in the fascination for out of box ideas to ignore the institutional memory embedded in the Ministry of External Affairs and outside," he added. On India's ties with the US, Shourie said there is a continuation in the policy.

However, he said there is need for the government to seize on the momentum. "Americans are feeling quite impatient. Impatience has crept in," he added.

Shourie while giving his assessment of the Prime Minister said," I like him. He is the only person who can give us leadership."

 

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