Industrialist Rahul Bajaj tells Amit Shah at Economic Times event in Mumbai
Industrialist and Bajaj Group chairperson Rahul Bajaj, speaking at an Economic Times award function in Mumbai, said there is an atmosphere of fear, people are afraid to criticise the government and do not have the confidence that the government will appreciate any criticism.
As per a report in The Quint, Bajaj asked a panel comprising Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal why people are not allowed to question the government. Bajaj said people had the freedom to critique the UPA government but that the current regime has created an environment of fear and uncertainty, as per the report.
“During UPA-II, we could abuse anyone. You are doing good work, but if we want to openly criticise you, there is no confidence you will appreciate that. I may be wrong but everyone feels that,” Bajaj said, according to a report in The Print.
Bajaj’s comments come the day after India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the July-September quarter came in at 4.5 percent, the lowest growth in at least six-and-half years, according to data from the National Statistics Office.
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“No need to fear about anything,” Amit Shah responded. “The Narendra Modi-government has been criticised continuously in media. But, if you are saying that there is such an environment, we need to work to improve this.” Shah added that the government is working in a most transparent manner and that the government tries to improve depending on whether the criticism has any merit.
As per The Print report, Bajaj then brought up Bhopal MP Praghya Singh Thakur, who created a controversy on Wednesday with her remarks in the Lower House of Parliament during DMK member A Raja’s narration of a statement by Nathuram Godse before a court on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi. “Is there a doubt who shot Gandhi?… I don’t know,” Bajaj said, as per the report.
Shah responded that the government and Bharatiya Janata Party strongly condemn her remarks. Shah added that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has already condemned her remarks and the party has taken action against her.
The BJP barred Thakur from attending its parliamentary party meeting in the ongoing session and removed her from the consultative committee on defence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said that he would never forgive Thakur for insulting Mahatma Gandhi by calling his assassin Nathuram Godse a true patriot.
The home minister also asked people from the industry to visit the Valley with family and assess the real situation.
“As home minister of the country, I am urging you to please visit Kashmir. Situation is normal there, you will see,” he added. As far as the timeline for removing restriction on internet, the minister said that as this is a law and order issue, the local administration would take decision in this regard. Further, he said that today only 630 people are in jail and out of that, less than 112 are political prisoners.
On Friday, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday termed the state of the economy as deeply worrying, while asserting that the state of society being even more “worrisome” is the fundamental reason behind the precarious condition of the economy.
“The state of our economy is deeply worrying but today, I will argue how the state of our society is even more worrisome and that is a fundamental reason for the precarious state of our economy,” said while speaking at an event in Delhi.
The former prime minister termed the GDP figures released as “unacceptable”.