KOLKATA: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today slammed the Narendra Modi government saying "it's too early to see results but there seems to be a gulf between the actual performance and the speeches made".
"I don't want to cast judgement yet because it's only been six months. But I think there seems to be a bit of a gulf between the action and the implementation of the words we are hearing in the speeches and the actual performance on the ground," Tharoor told reporters here.
The former union minister was one of the main speakers at a seminar "Driving Excellence through Creativity" organised at the INFOCOM, a platform on the convergence of Business, Technology and Leadership elements.
Questioning the reflection of Modi's promises of "minimum government, maximum governance" made during the Lok Sabha poll campaigning in his work, the MP from Thiruvanathapuram said, "We see that sometimes sound bytes are given for the sake of giving them. Where is minimum government ...We are actually seeing tremendous consolidation of power in one power's hand. It's a sort of one person rule. Ministers have been bypassed, the Prime Minister is working directly through secretaries."
"We are seeing, for example, the so called lean and mean cabinet (has been) expanded to 66 out of maximum permissible level... There is no real concrete examples of minimum government... It is maximum government in power in the hands of the Prime Minister. So that's the slogan we should not corresponding to the actual practice," he said.
He further questioned Modi's slogan of having no business to be in business. "Which government businesses are being dismantled? If Modi genuinely believes that, then why is the government running an airline, hotels ? Those are private businesses everyone runs," he added.
"There is apparently no connection between the nice sounding soundbytes and the actual policy actions of the government that should follow to fulfil those sound bytes. If this keeps on happening then we will develop a little bit of scepticism," he quipped.
"But, as I say that I do not want to come to a permanent conclusion on the basis of six months but I do worry that if it keeps on being the pattern then we all have the cause to be anxious," Tharoor said.
Alleging that Narendra Modi's skipping Eid and Iftar parties has send out a "opposite signal" to the country, Tharoor urged the Prime Minister to "live up to his words and not send such signal".
"I can't merely accept things at face value. I admire the right things being said by Mr Modi. It's a very positive signal.. But the signal alone is not enough and sometimes even silence hurts," he said adding, "Like the string of incidents against the Muslim community one statement from the Prime Minister would have sent a signal of reassurance instead he does not go to Eid parties or Iftar parties nor hosts one... This sends a opposite signal."
He further added leading the country is truly showing inclusion and inclusiveness and also about not about avoiding certain issues and challenges.
"During the election campaign he (Modi) was seen in different headgears but never in a Muslim cap..these things are also noticed and send out a opposite signal," the former Mos for HRD said. "So I urge Mr Modi to live up to his own words and not send such a signal to the nation," he added.
"Mr Modi has been saying the right things and I have been criticised for acknowledging that. So let me say right upfront. I don't take back my words. But has he been doing the right things? This has been my question and it still remains a question," he said.
Clearing the air about his participation in the Swachh Bharat campaign, the Congress leader said: "When I accepted the Prime Minister's invitation I was very clear about my participation in the Swachh Bharat campaign. I do not believe in photo ops. I wrote in one of my blogs I explained very clearly that as a Congressman I was following footsteps of Gandhiji who long before the Independence mentioned the importance of sanitation and this objective has been followed by all parties who have come to power.
"So fact is that ultimately sanitation has been a priority of every government but the visibility and prominence the government has given it.. I think it should have a long term not solution.. Cleaning the street is not enough. The government must show real financial muscle and political will and come up with sustainable long-term plans," he said.