Rahul Bajaj says firms dont dare criticise Modi govt; Amit Shah responds

That Rahul Bajaj could stand up to Amit Shah and express himself is what democracy is all about Day after industrialists remarks BJP ministers react

Watch: Industrialist Rahul Bajaj questions Amit Shah on intolerance, lynchings in India

Bajaj also referred to PM Modi's reaction to Pragya Thakur's earlier reference to Godse as a "deshbhakt" in May, saying "the prime minister had said it would be very hard for him to forgive her". "But, if you are saying that there is such an environment, we need to work to improve this". "I don't know", Bajaj said.

Another commentator quipped, "Dear Rahul Bajaj, anyone can say anything to criticise this govt; there is no fear & if you don't agree, we will abuse u, threaten u till u do agree. -your friendly neighbourhood Online Troll Army". Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was a part of the panel, comprising Home Minister Amit Shah and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, addressed by Bajaj, has said there's always "a better way to seek an answer than spreading one's own impressions". "Rahul Bajaj said at the time of UPA govt we could criticize govt". "Indian economy has moved from the era of policy paralysis, scams and corruption pre-2014 to one of the era of bold, transparent and decisive decision-making under Narendra Modi Government since 2014", Shah had said in his address. Shah said that the government is working in a most transparent manner and if there is any criticism- depending on its merit, they try to improve on that.

Thakur on Friday apologised in the Lok Sabha for her controversial remarks, adding that she did not "call Nathuram Godse a "deshbhakt"".

While the Sunday posts by the Union ministers appeared to be an attempt by the ruling establishment to douse the fire after Bajaj's remarks went viral on social media, the BJP IT cell sought to link Bajaj to the previous Congress-led UPA regime on Saturday itself. He referred to Prime Minister Modi's remarks prior to the election when Pragya had made a similar comment, and he said that he would never forgive her. "Is there a doubt who shot Gandhi..." "But she was brought into the consultive committee (on defence) later", 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. The Home Minister denied allegations there was an atmosphere of fear in the country. "Situation is normal there, you will see", he added.

Bajaj's statement comes a day after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke at the National Economy Conclave about "a palpable climate of fear" in society amidst dipping GDP growth.

"The state of our economy is deeply worrying but today, I will argue how the state of our society is even more worrisome and that is a fundamental reason for the precarious state of our economy", said while speaking at an event in Delhi.

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