'Could criticise UPA-II, not sure if you appreciate criticism': Industrialist Rahul Bajaj to Amit Shah

Industrialist and Bajaj Group chairperson Rahul Bajaj has said that there is an atmosphere of fear, and people are afraid to criticise the government and do not have the confidence that the government will appreciate any criticism. Bajaj was speaking at an Economic Times award function in Mumbai.

According to the Quint, Bajaj asked a panel comprising Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal why people are not allowed to question the government.

Bajaj said: “Nobody from our industrialist friends will speak, I will say openly… 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.”

Also Read: PM Modi takes less than 20% staff: Amit Shah replying to Congress on SPG protocol

This evoked a response from Shah, who said there was no need to fear but if Bajaj felt so, then “we will have to make an effort to improve the atmosphere”. "No need to fear about anything. The Narendra Modi-government has been criticised continuously in media. But, if you are saying that there is such an environment, we need to work to improve this," he said. Shah said that the government is working in a most transparent manner and if there is any criticism - depending on its merit we try to improve on that.

Bajaj then brought up Bhopal MP Praghya Singh Thakur, who created a controversy on Wednesday with her remarks in the Lower House of Parliament during DMK member A Raja's narration of a statement by Nathuram Godse before a court on why he killed Mahatma Gandhi. “Is there a doubt who shot Gandhi?… I don’t know,” Bajaj said, reported the Print.

Replying to which, Amit Shah said the government and Bharatiya Janata Party strongly condemn remarks of BJP Lok Sabha member Pragya Singh Thakur on Nathuram Godse. "Neither the government, nor the BJP supports such remarks. We strongly condemn it," he said.

On the situation in Kashmir, the home minister asked the industry community to visit the Valley with family and assess the real situation there. "As home minister of the country, I am urging you to please visit Kashmir. Situation is normal there, you will see," he added. As far as the timeline for removing restriction on internet, the minister said that as this is a law and order issue, the local administration would take decision in this regard. Further, he said that today only 630 people are in jail and out of that, less than 112 are political prisoners.