Jaipur, Jan 23: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had won a "phenomenal mandate" for a shining India, but asked did he really have a "game plan" for sustained economic growth and create job opportunities for the people.
Tharoor also questioned the viability of Modi's flagship "Swachh Bharat" campaign - for which he is one of the ambassadors - noting the absence of funds for it and stressing it should not become a mere "photo opportunity".
"Fast growing is not enough, the government needs to have a game plan," he added.
Speaking during a session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, the 58-year-old former union minister skirted away from any controversy while not being confronted by any "uncomfortable" questions from the audience on his wife Sunanda Pushkar's murder case, in which he was recently questioned by Delhi Police.
The session "India Shastra" takes its name from Tharoor's new book, a compilation of essays on various political, diplomatic, historical and cultural issues in India and the world.
Reading a few passages from the book, Tharoor highlighted how the country needs to make major infrastructure investments in many areas to fulfill millions of aspirations.
"The promises he (Modi) has made to the younger people...if they can't be fulfilled, then the Congress will be waiting in the next election," he said.
Tharoor said it is important to diagnose a problem and find a solution to cure it.
"He (Modi) will have to take major steps and that might involve disappointing vested interests. His association with certain groups (VHP, RSS) has helped him get into power, but they are the people who don't understand the importance of foreign investments and don't care about it," he said.
Tharoor had upset his party members when he supported Modi's "Swachh Bharat", but talking about the initiative that has touched the "middle class aspirations", he pointed out that "such campaigns shouldn't merely become photo opportunities".
"I actually thought that the campaign was unexceptional. He was the first prime minister to use the visibility of his office to the nation's attention. But this only works if you can actually sustain it," he said.
Tharoor was quick to add that the hollowness of this campaign will "sadly create more desperation, more disappointment because you have put the great vision out there, but have you taken the trouble to take steps to get it done?"
"That is my biggest problem with the government," he said.