Tharoor at BLF: Modi's governance undermined India

Tharoor at BLF: Modi's governance undermined India

Congress MP and author Shashi Tharoor speaking at BLF on Sunday. DH photo.

Congress MP and author Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said India has been rendered 'sick' by impulsive decisions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and needs 'kichdi' opposition to heal, as he invoked the grandma wisdom to describe why opposition parties must be supported in next elections though they are in shambles.

He was speaking on his book, ‘The Paradoxical Prime Minister’ at Bengaluru Literature Festival. Tharoor, who had earlier described the united opposition as ‘thali’ with different dishes, did not disagree when a member from the audience said the group looks more of a kichdi. 

“I will give you your grandmother’s advice. When you are sick, take kichdi. Because our country has sadly been pushed into very great illness in the last four years. Coalition governments have made a better contribution for India than the rule of a single party,” he said.

Tharoor said his latest book was a 'fair' analysis, if not neutral one, of Narendra Modi-led BJP government's rule. “The way we think about our country has been altered by the nature of the forces unleashed and condoned by Narendra Modi and his government. This includes a phenomenal rise in mob lynching and cow vigilantism. According to figures from Home Ministry, 97% of violent incidents in the name of cow protection happened in last four years,” he said.

Institutions ruined

Tharoor said Modi's “most centralised government” has undermined India's key institutions that were built over a period of last 70 years. “In the entire demonetisation saga, we only saw silence of the Reserve Bank of India and even Cabinet was not consulted. The empowered ministers did not know the change in Rafale deal, foreign policy regarding Pakistan or removal of CBI director,” he said. 

Noting that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) “essentially brought down” the Manmohan Singh government, but now we have not heard from CAG on what the government has or has not done. Information commissioners appointment has been delayed and millions of RTI applications have been stone walled, he added.​

Paradox at heart

Paradox, Tharoor said, was at the heart of Narendra Modi starting from his projection as an RSS leader with modern principles before the 2014 election to the way he functions as a prime minister.

“Many had seen BJP as a political vehicle for old men speaking in Hindi about glories of Hindu culture. Modi was a new standard bearer, smartly attired modern man who could click a mouse on the one hand while brandishing a trishul in the other,” he said, adding that the paradox was even more evident in the working of prime minister who draws his power from Parliament but remains unaccountable to it.

Scorpion on Shiva linga

Tharoor said Modi has managed to ensure that he was larger than RSS though his affiliation to the Hindutva movement remains strong. He said Modi’s cabinet travels regularly to Nagpur to take directions from RSS whose functionaries are frustrated about Modi escaping the Sangh’s discipline.

“There’s an extraordinary striking metaphor expressed by an unnamed RSS source to journalist Vinod Jose of The Caravan to express this frustration. Modi was described as a scorpion sitting on a Shiva Ling; you can’t remove it with your hand for fear of getting stung and you can’t hit it with a chappal either as that undermines all the sacred tenets of the faith,” he said.


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