PM WITH SHOURIE … PM Modi meets detractor and ex-minister Arun Shourie; attempt to heal economy

PUNE: A visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to former Union minister Arun Shourie at a hospital where the latter is undergoing treatment for head injuries led to speculation the PM is looking around for expert advice from competent hands to put the Indian economy back on fast-growth-track. Shourie is a known detractor of PM Modi and part of several well-orchestrated anti-Modi campaigns in the past.

The PM’s was an unscheduled visit, doctors at the Ruby Hall clinic said, adding they got the call from the PM’s officials around 4.30pm. The PM spent about 10 minutes at the hospital and later also posed for pictures with the hospital staff. He flew into the city earlier in the day to attend national-level meeting of DGPs and IGPs here, which was addressed also by home minister Amit Shah.

Shourie was admitted to the ICU of the hospital on December 1, after he had a fall while taking a walk on the lawns of his bungalow in Lavasa. He was being treated for a brain injury, bleeding and swelling on the head.

Wrote the PM on his twitter page after the hospital visit: “In Pune, I met former Union Minister Arun Shourie Ji. Enquired about his health and had a wonderful interaction with him. ‪We pray for his long and healthy life.”

Arun Shourie was a minister for communications and media in the Vajpayee ministry between 1998 and 2004. He has been close to the BJP and the RSS for many years and was Editor of the Indian Express for many years when businessman and media baron Ramnath Goenka ran it in laudable ways. Shourie is a prominent economist, and was associated with the Planning Commission. He started working with World Bank as an economist in 1967, and in later years switched over to journalism in India.

Shourie is among the group of elders in the BJP who openly demonstrated their animosity to PM Modi as and when situations permitted them. He is a joint signatory to several public statements issued by this group based out of Delhi. Shourie, of late, is living in Pune – having divorced himself from the power circles in the national capital. 

Shourie hails from a Punjabi Brahmin family in Jalandhar, Punjab, and had much of his education in New Delhi. He had his higher studies at and doctorate from the Syracuse University, New York.

Earlier in the day, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram made a public statement that PM Modi handled the nation’s economy without any economist around to guide him. Shourie belongs to the Sangh Parivar group of intellectuals, another one being S Gurumurthy, who allegedly was advising the PM until 2916 end. 

The Demonetisation announced by the PM in November 2016, which caused a lot of hardships to the nation at least in the interim, was said to be on advice from those like Gurumurthy. IHN-NN


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