NEW DELHI — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the Narendra Modi government has restored the credibility and dignity of the post of prime minister, something that was lost because of the Congress party's dual power centers in the last UPA government.
"UPA's attempt to reduce the stature of Prime Minister's position by setting up power centre outside the government, we always felt such a system cannot continue in a democracy and we have reversed that," senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at a press conference to mark the first anniversary of Narendra Modi government. "The last year has restored the credibility, dignity and stature of the Prime Minister's Office. In this government, the last word belongs to the Prime Minister and that is how it should be," he said.
Jaitley then said that the party has become the central pole of Indian politics. "From now onwards the country's polity will be guided either on pro BJP or on anti BJP lines."
BJP also announced a host of programmes including 200 big rallies and 5,000 public meetings across the country to mark the first anniversary of its government which all Union and state ministers, party MPs and office bearers will address. This is part of the party's efforts to counter the perception that Modi has fallen short of what he had promised during the election campaign and soon after becoming prime minister.
Jaitley admitted shortcomings in one area — the agricultural economy. He said that due to the global economy and domestic disturbances, the "agrarian situation poses a challenge to our economy". Reports suggest that the farm sector is in trouble and farmers are blaming the government.
Jaitley also said minorities in the country were safe and in the last one year, government has made attempts to ensure there is no social tension. On provocative statements made by BJP leaders, he said they were told not to do so and some incidents like attacks on churches were found to be law and order issues. "Today all such religious institutions have been provided with security, which was never there in the past," he said.
He said the party and the government together displayed a lot of coordination and there is enthusiasm among party workers across the country. "Our party and our cadres are proud of our performance," he asserted.
"Policy paralysis has been replaced by quick decision- making process, reluctance has been replaced by decisiveness. There is clarity of direction in the government. A very big change is that corruption has been replaced by transparent governance. Crony capitalism has been replaced by liberal policy-based governance," he said.
(With agency inputs)