PM Narendra Modi's I-Day speech lacks substance: Kapil Sibal

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 17 2014, 05:38am hrs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden Independence Day speech lacked substance and he will have to walk the talk to prove that his statements do not end up as sound bytes, Congress leader and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal said today.

Sibal also said institutions like the Planning Commission needs reform and its former Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia had indeed moved a paper to reform the body during the UPA rule.

"I think he is a master of sound bytes, but whether he is master of substance or not, I am not too sure about it... As far as sound byte goes, I am impressed, but there is no substance in any of this," he said, responding to Modi's Independence Day speech.

The former Law Minister termed Modi's address as "yet another election speech" and said the Prime Minister's words must match the deeds.

"He connects with people on these issues but what is happening on the ground is entirely different," Sibal said, adding that the reaction of Modi to the violence in parts of Uttar Pradesh would be his "test".

Asked why Ahluwalia's paper never made news, Sibal told Karan Thapar on 'Headlines Today' that then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "would silently work".

Responding to a question on Modi's statements on manufacturing, he said even former Prime Minister Singh had talked about need for growth in the manufacturing sector as only 20 per cent of GDP comes from that sector.

He also said Modi's plan of 'Made in India' is not very clear from his speech.

Sibal said Modi's idea to have separate toilets for girls in schools is part of the Right of Education Act brought by the UPA government. He said it is up to the Centre to ensure that funds are available.

In a word of praise for Modi, Sibal said it is good that he flagged the issue of rapes and sanitation as it is necessary for responsible politicians to flag these matters in public.