Jaitley hits back at Rahul over accusations against PM

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday hit back at Rahul Gandhi over his dig that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not consult even his ministers, saying that Congress vice president’s views “lacked maturity”.

In an article ‘How much does he know – when will he know’ posted on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s website, Jaitley said Modi was a “hands-on” prime minister. Jaitley’s reaction came within hours of Gandhi’s attack on Modi in the Lok Sabha.

“The (Congress-led) UPA model of governance was that if a person outside the family is the prime minister, he should be reduced to being a figurehead,” Jaitley said.

“Rahul Gandhi’s views are shaped by the environment of a political party which has evolved into a ‘crowd around a family’,” the minister added.

Rahul Gandhi, in his speech in the Lok Sabha on the motion of thanks to the president’s address, took digs at Modi as also Jaitley.

Putting wit and sarcasm to good use, Gandhi attacked Modi on a host of issues ranging from his policies on Pakistan and black money to the Jawaharlal Nehru University row and the Nagaland peace accord.

Rahul Gandhi claimed that the prime minister hardly consults his senior ministers.

“If Rahul Gandhi is to be believed, then (External Affairs Minister) Sushma Swaraj is not consulted on the Pakistan policy, Rajnath Singh was unaware of the Nagaland accord and, presumably, I am unaware of the budget proposals.”

“As one evolves from a young to a middle-aged one, we certainly expect a certain level of maturity. The more I hear Shri Rahul Gandhi, the more I start wondering how much does he know – when will he know,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said the prime minister should be the natural leader of the party and the government.

“In the NDA it is so. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) was quite different. The prime minister is to lead by example. The present prime minister not only works hard and involves himself in the functioning of the various departments of the government, but inspires his team to work harder than we would have normally,” the finance minister said.

“Each one of us, whether the external affairs or home ministers or myself, are responsible for each important decision taken by each one of the departments. We do not bypass the prime minister who is always available for consultation and guidance.”

“After hearing Rahul Gandhi, I think India has made the right choice between the prime minister who leads the government and a prime minister who is merely implementing decisions taken elsewhere,” he said.

“Given a choice between a ‘hands-on’ prime minister or a ‘nominal’ head, I would unhesitatingly choose the former,” Jaitley said.

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