Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that his successor Narendra Modi has failed to speak on issues that mattered and give every Indian the confidence that he cares for their well being. Singh, long-reviled by candidate Modi as 'Maunmohan Singh' during his years as India's top leader, was speaking in his first interview since departing from office. Here are some of the key points he made during his interview with India Today's Jyoti Malhotra.
1) Modi has failed to speak out on issues that matter, like the Muzaffarnagar riots and the Dadri lynching. "The public in our country expects the prime minister to take the lead in managing public opinion. But he has never spoken; whether it is on the beef problem or whether it is what happened in Muzaffarnagar or elsewhere, he has kept quiet... He is the prime minister of all the people of India and he must give every Indian the confidence that in him we have a prime minister who cares for our well-being."
2) The people of the country have lost their faith in the government. He observed that the ministers say all the right things, but things have not really improved on the ground and that there exists a "crisis of confidence in the government". He added that for one reason or the other, the government is not able to get its act together.
3) Dr Singh said that the real test of foreign policy for any government lies in the way it handles the country’s neighbours, but the BJP’s approach with Pakistan has been "inconsistent". “Modi government's handling of Pakistan is inconsistent. It has been one step forward, two steps back. Also, with regard to Nepal, once again we have a situation where the government there is accusing the government of India of putting up a blockade, and that is very unfortunate,” he told the magazine.
4) Dr Singh said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee, like Narendra Modi, too had a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background when he became the Prime Minister, but unlike Modi, Vajpayee "grew in office". “They have a huge majority in the Lok Sabha. In the hands of a purposeful government and wise leadership, there are enormous opportunities to make progress in the management of the economy and in containing social tensions."
5) The former prime minister said that despite a sharp fall in oil prices (From a peak of $150 a barrel levels when his government was in power to sub $30 levels as on date), the Modi government has failed to capitalise on it. He observed that the fall in crude prices has helped India’s balance of payments, current account and fiscal account deficits but the government has failed to make the most of the situation in terms of using the opportunity to set up investments in a big way.
6) He criticised the incumbent government for spending two years out of their five-year term without giving people the feeling that the country is on an upward path. “Bank credit is not moving--the rate of growth of bank credit is much lower than would be the case if the economy was on an upward trend,” he said.
You can read the full interview here.