Modi is the last word in government: Arun Jaitley
Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said Narendra Modi is a hands-on Prime Minister who listens to everybody but his word is final, rejecting criticism that the PM has concentrated all powers in his hands.
Jaitley contrasted this with the 10 years of UPA regime when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had "no actual powers".
"In a democracy, the Prime Minister always has the last word. I can't deny that Narendra Modi is a strong leader but he is a hands-on Prime Minister who listens to everybody. As is expected in a democracy, his word is final. And there is nothing wrong in that. Even in Vajpayee government, everybody was consulted but the PM had the last word," said Jaitley on India TV's programme Aap ki Adalat.
When asked to comment on a description by The Economist magazine that Modi is a "one-man band", he said he cannot be compared to Singh who was "portrayed as PM in office but not in power" by the same publication, according to a release issued by the channel.
"For 10 years, we had a Prime Minister who had no actual powers. I have been an admirer of Manmohan Singh for his personal competence but the Congress never gave him a free hand. Had the Congress allowed him to work according to his competence, the history of India would have been difference," Jaitley said.
Stressing the importance of a Prime Minister wielding a real authority, he said, "the nation can't be run under an arrangement where PM has the designation but lacks actual powers. Prime Minister Modi is a very hardworking leader who also accepts his colleagues to be equally hardworking."