Targeting UPA over its decision-making, BJP leader Arun Jaitley Thursday expressed apprehension about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being able to implement his formulations on economic problems and stressed the government’s elected head must have the last word. Delivering the valedictory address at the CII conference here, Jaitley also accused the Congress of “controlling CBI” for its political ends.
The leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha said there had been concern in the country over the past few years over the direction in which the economy was moving.Referring to prime minister’s inaugural remarks at the conference, he said Manmohan Singh knew what the problem was, had tried to address some of possible solutions but contended that the prime minister’s ability to implement the decisions was somewhat suspect.
“The problem is of implementation…Quality of governance will decide how fast India moves,” he said. Making a veiled reference to the power structure in Congress which entails frequent consultations between party president Sonia Gandhi and the prime minister, Jaitley said that elected head of government must have the last word in decision-making.
Referring to Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, he said the two outside supporters of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government were vulnerable to misuse of “coercive structures” like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). ”CBI is today more controlled by the party (Congress) then the government,” Jaitley alleged, adding credibility of prime investigation agencies had suffered under the UPA, and use of CBI had “disturbed consensus on economic issues”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader said government was reluctant to accept party’s recommendations on working of CBI and it was time the agency was “completely immunized”. Jaitley also said the UPA leadership had not been able to inspire confidence of states on economic decisions such as goods and services tax (GST).
Terming the GST a good reform, he said it had however run into trouble as central government’s track record in dealing with states was not very inspirational. GST would have become a reality two years earlier if the central government had able to instill confidence among states, he noted. Referring to power, communications and road construction, he said these sectors had shown a lot of promise during the rule of National Democratic Alliance government but had been mismanaged by the UPA government.
He said telecommunications was one of the biggest success stories but had become one of biggest concerns. ”What was the leadership doing when all this was happening?” said Jaitley. He also said while he had occasions to disagree with the prime minister, he never doubted his wisdom.
Calling for firmness in decision-making, he said it was important that leadership has clarity with regard to policy formulation. He contended that projects of about Rs.7,000 crore were lying blocked due to various reasons including inter-ministerial differences. Asking the government for its roadmap to bring the country back to 9 percent growth, he said leader of government should have a big heart and should be able to take along opposition and the states in decisions.
He said there was probably a belief in the government that quality of governance will not win votes and expanding expenditure in various directions was politically expedient. Referring to internal security situation, Jaitley said cross-border terrorism remained a concern for the country, and stressed that the government must never give impression of being a soft state to gain votes.
Answering a query, he said BJP was a party which was friendly to business and industry as speedy growth yielded funds for welfare programmes of the government. He said coalitions at the centre were a reality and it was important to accommodate regional players in formation of government.