Economic consensus possible if no political hostilities: Jaitley

New Delhi, April 18: Claiming that “two power centres” of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) were “not on the same page” on issues of governance, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley Wednesday said government can build an environment of economic consensus with the opposition provided there were no political hostilites.

Addressing the valedictory session of the annual general meeting of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Jaitley referred to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the two power centres and accused the government of following corporate model of governance.

“The board sits elsewhere and CEO (chief executive officer) is governing…the largest democracy cannot be run like this,” Jaitley said.

He said there was a sudden decline in the mood of investment in the past two years.

“Economic raodmap is known to all. The problem is political,” he said.

Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the country needed fast growth to remove poverty and accused the UPA of providing weak leadeship.

“Leadership is not acting or taking decision for fear of allies pulling out or it committing a mistake,” he said.

The BJP leader said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee “had gone back to pre-1991 mindset” in this year’s budget by taxing people as much as possible to raise resources.

“North block decides how much to tax and 10 Janpath (Sonia Gandhi’s residence) decides where to spend,” he said.

He said chief ministers had joined hands on the issue of the Centre trying to violate principles of federalism and opposition was crying hoarse about misuse of CBI.

“Environment of economic consensus can be built provided there are no political hostilites,” he said.

He said it was primary duty of the government to build consensus and there were many issues on which there were no fundamental differences with the opposition.

Jaitley said Mukherjee was caught “between two ideological poles (in his party)” and was not trying not to committ a mistake “by not doing too much.”

He said business environment should be without suspicion and government should seem to be in control.

Referring to the pending bills of human resource ministry headed by Kapil Sibal, he said the opposition to the bills started from ruling party members.

“When Congress tries to oppose its own ministers, we can’t be seen to be bailing them out,” he said.

He called for change in the model of governance of UPA and said impression about India not being the best investment destination should change.

Answering queries about retrospective tax provisions in the budget, Jaitley said it upsets fiscal planning.

IANS