Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha and finance minister Arun Jaitley’s first speech in Parliament had some praise for former prime minister Manmohan Singh, saying he did not have the power to say “no”, while elaborating on the failures of the UPA.
“You cannot run the government where Prime Minister does not have the last word. The PM must be have the authority to overrule others.
You cannot build structures of men with obsolete ideologies situated outside the government who dominate government policies,” Jaitley said intervening in the debate on motion of thanks on the President’s address.
However, Jaitley referred to dubious allocation of 2G spectrum and coal blocks, misuse of public money during preparation of Commonwealth Games and the cash-for-vote scandal of 2008 saying intervention by then PM on these issues could have restored credibility of the government.
He decoded the result of recent elections saying a single party got majority on its own after 30 years because unlike previous elections, this election was not about the arithmetic of alliances but was more about the changing chemistry on the ground.
Traditional vote banks have been smashed, he said, adding those who governed badly and thought caste would save them, had been trounced.
He vowed to resurrect the economy with a strong Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm and quoted Modi in saying Centre would take states along and address their issues.
“Those parties which relied on dynasties have suffered a setback, and those who thought that minorities are not equal citizens but merely a vote bank and relied on consolidation have been disappointed,” he said.
He also sought to allay apprehensions on account of treatment to minorities saying his government will have a “compassionate” and non-discriminatory” approach and will take “strongest” steps to ensure social harmony and national security.
Targeting the former UPA government, Jaitley said it had passed on an economy of low growth, high inflation, high fiscal deficit and low tax collection.
“The enthusiasm in Indian economy was shattered. Domestic investors were moving out. If there is no investment, there is no job. You have left the country, in your own words, not at poverty alleviation, but at elevated poverty,” Jaitley said.