Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today played down former Union minister Arun Shourie's criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he does not not attach much importance to comments made out of "personal ambitions not being satisfied".
Shourie, in an interview recently, called Modi "a narcissist running a presidential government without any checks and balances".
"Has this trait come in the last two years according to him (Shourie) or did it pre-exist? I think when comments are based on personal ambitions not being satisfied, at least I don't attach much importance to that comment," he said in an interview to India Today TV on the occasion of completion of two years of the NDA government.
On unsavory comments made by certain BJP leaders like Sakshi Maharaj, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Jaitley said they have been "reasonably checked".
"The party has told those people, and you have seen the impact in the last one year. People who were making statements of that kind have been reasonably checked...," he said.
"People must be restrained in their comments because our agenda and policy on governance go in one direction and some ill-advised statements of these types could be policy diversion. They don't help us."
On the economic front, the minister listed out achievements of the government by observing that India has emerged as the fastest-growing major economy in the world, but the best is still to come.
"Previous governments have met fiscal target by spending less. We have spent more last year and still met the fiscal target. We are performing and I am sure that the best in the government is still to come," Jaitley said.
India clocked a growth rate of 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, the highest achieved by any major economy in the world.
Later, in an interview to Doordarshan, the finance minister said decision-making has been quickened and confidence of investors has increased in the Indian economy since the NDA government came to power.
He is optimistic that India is likely to register a growth rate of 7.6 per cent during the current financial year despite global challenges.
Highlighting other achievements of the NDA government, Jaitley referred to India becoming an attractive destination of foreign direct investment.
Fielding questions on the Vijay Mallya issue, the minister said it has adversely impacted image of the private corporate sector and stressed that the law will take its own course.
"Vijay Mallya episode has spoiled the image of private sector in the country," he said in response to a query on the beleaguered businessman who has left India and whose group companies owe over Rs 9,000 crore to banks.
Mallya, who is being investigated by several agencies, is currently in the United Kingdom.
Jaitley further said the government has taken several steps to deal with the black money menace and the recent amendment to the India-Mauritius double taxation avoidance agreement was another step in that direction.
The government, he said, has passed laws to deal with domestic black money as well as unaccounted wealth stashed abroad and it would become difficult for anyone to hide true income.
He also recalled the initiatives taken by the government in the last two years to streamline taxation system and improve ease of doing business.