If one of India’s most respected industrialists Rahul Bajaj, known for not mincing his words, says India Inc. is afraid of criticising the Narendra Modi government in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and two of his senior cabinet ministers, he should be taken seriously. He was only reiterating in his own characteristic style what the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier said — how a “toxic combination of deep distrust, pervasive fear” was “stifling economic activity and hence economic growth”. He too needs to be taken seriously. It is highly ridiculous for Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to raise an alarm that criticising the government “can hurt national interest, if it gains traction”. Does she mean that the government is beyond criticism in a democratic set-up with a Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression? Is that a veiled threat?
S K Choudhury Bengaluru
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