New Delhi: Former Union Minister Arun Shourie today accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of deliberately maintaining silence on incidents like Dadri lynching while his ministerial and party colleagues kept the issue "alive" merely to win Bihar elections.
He also agreed with the suggestion that Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah were pitting one community against another in Bihar and cited a Pakistani analyst to say that while the neighbouring country was trying to get out of the pit, India was slowly going down its way.
The former BJP insider attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's defence of Modi that he was the worst victim of intolerance since 2002, saying this was the worst defence he had heard and Modi "in his mind will get the fullest justification for being vengeful".
Arun Shourie. File pic/AFP
Coming out in support of writers, authors and artistes returning their awards against the "climate of intolerance", he told Karan Thapar on India Today channel that they are "conscience-keepers" of the country and their motives cannot be questioned.
Praising scientists like P M Bhargava and Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy, who have expressed concern over these incidents, Shourie questioned how these people can be called rabid, a term used by Jaitley.
These people have contributed immensely to the country and those who attacked them have not read a book in the last 20 years. "Those who cannot write two paragraphs are sitting in judgement over writers."
Rejecting BJP leaders' oft-repeated statements that the Prime Minister cannot be expected to speak on any and every issue, Shourie said he was exactly doing that and not speaking on issues he should.
"Prime Minister is not a section officer of the homoeopathy department. He is not head of a department. He is the Prime Minister. He has to show the country the moral path. He has to set moral standards," he said.