Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Thursday that he was “touched” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gesture of retweeting a photograph showing Tharoor taking up a cleanliness drive. At the same time, he criticised the Modi-led government, rating it two out of 10.
Speaking during the launch of his latest book, India Shastra, he said Modi “has the right people in his team” but doubted if the government could deliver on its promises.
“It’s too early for a report card,” Tharoor said, adding, “Still, since you ask, 8 out of 10 for rhetoric, 2 out of 10 for results. Mr Modi’s fine sound bytes have not seen much implementation so far.”
He added that Modi is getting stuck in identity politics instead of focusing on the development agenda and that there was a worrying trend of the government’s focus tilting away from the task of providing security to the weak, poor and the vulnerable.
“We in the Congress believe that we need both economic growth and a determination to distribute the fruits and revenues to those who need it most in our unequal society and the magic of the market is not going to appeal to those who can’t afford to enter the market place,” he said.
“The contradiction in Modi’s politics and his governance agenda will persist and will sow the seeds of his subsequent failure,” Tharoor said.
He said that the UPA II government was “unlucky” about fuel prices, while inflation also took a toll on its poll results.
“Modi’s failure to deliver on the high expectations he has stoked will cost him dear in 2019,” he said, adding that his party, the Congress, is looking forward to getting even in the next parliamentary elections.
Tharoor added there is a trend of “mounting intolerance” in the country and suspects that his first novel, The Great Indian Novel that was published 25 years ago, would have been banned had it been published now.
(with inputs from agencies)