New Delhi: Opposition parties on Tuesday dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s TV interview as a “PR exercise” and slammed him for the “imbalance” between his words and actions.
The Congress said the Prime Minister’s body language looked defensive while the Communist Party of India-Marxist termed his interview as a public relations exercise.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party found fault with the Prime Minister’s remarks on Pakistan and the Janata Dal-United criticised him for “no action” over Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and union ministers who create controversies by making divisive and communal statements.
The Congress said it would have been better if the Prime Minister had held a press conference instead of giving an interview to TimesNow news channel.
“It would have been better if he had done a press conference so (that) other journalists could have gotten a chance to participate in a question-answer session. But that did not happen and I don’t think that will happen,” Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
He said the Prime Minister looked defensive, going by his body language.
“I saw a Prime Minister being so defensive for the first time. The lion that would roar in April 2014; we saw him as an old lion. He looked weak; he was not decisive. It is sad,” Azad said.
The Congress leader also questioned the outcome of India’s foreign policy ever since the National Democratic Alliance government came to power in May 2014, about which the Prime Minister spoke so extensively.
“Modi called his Pakistan (counterpart) to his swearing-in ceremony (in May 2014). He talked to the Pakistan Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) at several fora. He even reached Lahore but in return what did we get in two years? Terrorism, that had almost ended in Jammu and Kashmir. In these two years, there is so much infiltration and ceasefire violation as had not happened in the last 60 years,” the Congress leader said.
Commenting on Pakistan during his interview, Modi underlined the problem of having multiple authorities in the neighbouring country.
CPI-M leader Brinda Karat termed Modi’s interview as a “successful public relations exercise, free of cost”.
“Selfies and self praise seem to be the motive of present Prime Minister and his government. The basic problems that people are facing, whether it is price rise, unemployment or severe drought condition…such issues do not even occur to the Prime Minister to answer,” Karat told IANS.
AAP leader and Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra slammed Modi for his statement on Pakistan, saying the Prime Minister is still confused over the neighouring country.
“I am disappointed to see Modi’s changed stance on Pakistan and also to see his confusion that whom should India talk to when it comes to Pakistan,” Mishra told the media.
He added: “He should listen to his speeches which he delivered before becoming Prime Minister. He is actually talking like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”
Modi had said the issue for New Delhi was who to deal with. “Will it be with the elected government or other actors? That is why India will have to be on alert all the time. India will have to be alert every moment. There can never be any laxity in this.”
Senior JD-U leader Ali Anwar criticised Modi over the imbalance in his words and actions.
“You (Modi) are now Prime Minister. Rather than giving sermons, he should have acted. He gave a lecture on (Subramanian) Swamy but didn’t show courage to act against him. Such an approach of the Prime Minister encourages people like Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath and others,” Anwar told IANS.
“How will one have faith on the Prime Minister’s word when there is no action,” he added.
Modi had described Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan “no less patriotic than anyone” and said Swamy’s attacks on top finance ministry officials were “inappropriate”.
He also dubbed Swamy’s attack on Rajan and top finance ministry officials a “publicity stunt” and in unmistakable terms warned him not to consider himself “bigger than the system”.
Swamy, who has been critical of Rajan since the formation of the National Democratic Alliance government in 2014, had questioned his patriotism, even saying “he (Rajan) is mentally not fully Indian”. Later, Rajan announced he was not interested in a second term at the Reserve Bank of India.a