Prime Minister Narendra Modi always runs from questions, and he will be known for it, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu told NDTV on Tuesday. The 55-year-old, who switched camp from the BJP to the Congress around three years ago, is one of the staunchest critics of the BJP.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be known for two schemes," he told NDTV. "One is the pakoda scheme for youngsters, the other is the bhagoda (runaway) scheme," said the leader, who received a notice from the Election Commission last week for alleged personal attacks on PM Modi.
Only those in power are answerable and to them, questions are asked, Mr Sidhu said. "Those who are not in power cannot answer questions, because they are not the ones taking decisions. But here, every time the government is asked questions, it runs."
The BJP's focus on nationalism and national security in this election is a fallout of this, he said, "The government is trying to deflect the attention of the people".
Mr Sidhu's party, the Congress, has been repeatedly claiming that the BJP is avoiding all the issues that concern the common man, starting with widespread unemployment. Party chief Rahul Gandhi, who has been attacking the Prime Minister over alleged corruption in the deal with France for Rafale jet fighters, has repeatedly challenged him to a debate.
Mr Sidhu said the Prime Minister is no longer the "Pradhan Mantri but Prachar Mantri (Publicity Minister)... He had spent 6000 crore on his own publicity".
PM Modi, he said, talked of creating 25 lakh jobs, but hasn't managed to create even 2 lakh jobs a year. "And these are government figures. Even the big contracts that should go To HAL (public sector aviation giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) or DRDO, which made the Agni and Prithvi missiles... they are going to foreign firms," Mr Sidhu said.