New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday attacked the Modi government over veteran industrialist Rahul Bajaj's "atmosphere of fear" remarks, claiming his sentiments were shared across the country and asserting that without harmony how one can expect investors to come.
Bajaj at an award function on Saturday in Mumbai said there was an "atmosphere of fear" and people were afraid to criticise the government and do not have the confidence that the government will appreciate any criticism.
The audience included Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among others. The businessman's remarks came a day after former prime minister Manmohan Singh, delivering his valedictory address at a national conclave on the economy, said many industrialists tell him they live in fear of harassment by government authorities.
Asked about Bajaj's remarks, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters, "What Rahul Bajaj said, is the sentiment shared across the country, across every sector." The atmosphere of this country has been vitiated though it is not beyond repair because the country has some resilience, he said.
"And if there is no harmony in a society, in a country, in a city, how do you expect investors to come and put their money there. Money only goes where it can thrive, where it can multiply, where it can grow," Khera said.
"And it can only grow in areas where there is peace, harmony, mutual interdependence and happiness," he said.
Another Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said after ages "someone from the corporate world, all of whom preach a lot to the opposition, has the courage to speak some truth to power".
"One of the most famous taglines in the Indian corporate ad industry has been 'You just can't beat a Bajaj'. Amit Shah has discovered that you just can't silence a Bajaj as well. Hamara Bajaj ne band baja diya!" senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
Senior Congress Milind Deora tweeted, "I have always known Rahul Bajaj to be apolitical, fiercely nationalistic & brutally honest. His remarks yesterday are in line with what MSMEs, bankers & industrialists have been telling me - if business sentiment does not improve soon, the worst is yet to come."