New Delhi: Industrialist Rahul Bajaj has done something that few journalists would dare do or most industrialists avoid uttering these days.
The Bajaj Group chairperson told Union Home Minister Amit Shah on his face that there was an atmosphere of fear and people were afraid to criticise the government.
Bajaj said this at an event hosted by Economic Times. Besides Shah, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal were also present.
“Nobody from our industrialist friends will speak, but I will say openly that an environment will have to be created… When UPA II was in power, we could criticise anyone. You (the government) are doing good work, but despite that we don’t have the confidence that you will appreciate if we criticise you openly,” Hush Post quoted the industrialist as saying.
The Home Minister responded that they will try to ensure that there is no fear to question and criticise. “If you say there is a certain kind of atmosphere, we will have to make efforts to improve it. But I would like to point out that there is no need for anybody to be afraid. If anyone criticises us, we will look at the merit of the same and make efforts to improve ourselves,” Shah said.
“We have done nothing to be concerned about any criticism. The government has run in the most transparent way, and we have no fear of any kind of opposition,” he added.
Raising another contentious issue, Bajaj pointed out, “Lynching cases have created an environment of intolerance and we are afraid. We see that till now, no one has been convicted.”
Shah countered that cases of lynching were not new and it was wrong to say that were no convictions. “Several cases of lynching have been concluded and there have been punishments, but the media does not publish them,” he added.
The industrialist also BJP MP Pragya Thakur’s appointment as member of the House panel on defence despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he would never forgive her for her remarks on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
In defence, Shah said immediately after Thakur’s statement, he and other senior leaders had condemned it. He added that while there was some confusion over whether Thakur had indicated Godse or revolutionary Udham Singh, she had apologised for her statement in Parliament.