After Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie lambastes the government's economic policies
Former minister of Disinvestment, Communication and Information Technology in AB Vajpayee's government and senior BJP leader Arun Shourie has joined the band of leaders from within the party criticizing the government's policies. He blamed the Modi government for the country's economic slowdown and criticized the government's demonetization and GST initiatives. Last month, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had raised similar concerns. Know more!
Arun Shourie began his career as an economist with World Bank and Planning Commission. He later joined the Indian Express as an Executive editor and was known for his hard-hitting and fearless journalism as he pursued the rights of undertrials and Bofors scam. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1998-2004 and 2004-2010 and was also a cabinet minister in Vajpayee's government.
Shourie told NDTV that Modi's demonetization move was "the largest money-laundering scheme ever, conceived and implemented entirely by the government." He termed it an "idiotic jolt" as all those "who had black (money) converted it into white." Shourie was referring to RBI's figures that 99% of the banned currency was returned to the banks, suggesting that black money was not gotten rid of.
Shourie termed GST an important but "poorly implemented" reform. He exclaimed that the "rules have been amended seven times within three months" and called the "event management of the GST" an unnecessary spectacle, referring to the Parliament's midnight session in July to introduce the reform.
Shourie called the Modi government as "government of 2.5 persons," referring to "Amit Shah, PM Modi, and an in-house lawyer." He accused them of not having "expertise" and making decisions based on "ilhaam (revelation). The Prime Minister has the 'ilhaam' one night that demonetisation should be done and he does it." He claimed they were working from a "sealed echo-chamber" and ignoring RBI's warnings.
After Yashwant Sinha had criticized the government's moves, some BJP functionaries had called him a "frustrated" person. Shourie said that this is the party's "standard operating procedure." He claimed that "whenever the party is confronted with inconvenient facts, they try to bury it in avalanche of abuse." He urged the BJP to "publish a list of persons" who they consider as "frustrated."
Shourie was one of the first ones to endorse Modi's PM candidature. He had claimed that 'Modi will modernize the BJP's ideology with his governance style'. However, after Modi came to power, in 2014 he said "more is said than done." He began criticizing Modi by calling him "Congress plus cow" and asserting that demonetization was as bold a measure as suicide.
Modi has been facing criticism from within the BJP. Subramanian Swamy claimed the economy was in a "tailspin" and may "crash." RSS' economic commentator S Gurumurthy said "Indian economy is hitting the bottom." Yashwant Sinha had attacked the government calling demonetization an "economic disaster." As dissent within the party increases, Modi may have to take constructive steps to address the country's economic situation.