Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday warned of "tough decisions" over the next couple of years to improve the country's financial health, which he said may not go down well with some sections, and attacked the way the previous United Progressive Alliance government had handled the economy.
"Taking tough decisions and strong measures in the coming one or two years are needed to bring financial discipline which will restore and boost the country's self-confidence", he said addressing Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Panaji, Goa.
This is the first occasion in less than three weeks since taking over reins of power that Modi has made sharply critical comments on the previous Manmohan Singh government's performance.
"I have taken over the reins of the country in circumstances when there is nothing left behind by the previous government. They left everything empty. The country's financial health has hit the bottom," Modi said.
However, in the short run, such measures may not go down well with everybody, he said.
"I am well aware that my steps may dent the immense love that the country has given to me. But when my countrymen would realise that these steps would result in getting the financial health back, then I will regain that love," said the prime minister.
On the other hand, if these tough measures were not taken, the financial situation would not improve, he said, adding "we need to take action wherever required".
"We won't be helping the country by praising Modi and praising BJP. There is no guarantee that just singing praise of Modi would improve the situation. We need to take harsh measures to improve the financial situation," he said.
Shortly later, Modi tweeted that "time has come to take tough decisions in the interest of the nation.
Whatever decisions we take will be solely guided by national interest".
The prime minister said it was a misconception that people in government are not willing to work for the country.
"In a government set-up, most officials would like to do something for the country. They are ready to work. This is what I can say from my experience as the prime minister in the last fifteen days," Modi said.
Referring to this year's Lok Sabha elections, Modi said, "they were not elections of arithmetic. They were elections of hopes and aspirations. And we have seen the results. For the first time since independence, we saw a non-Congress government coming to power with full majority without coalition.
"The people have given a clear signal to the political parties and all parties should understand these signals. The electorate doesn't agree with the old style of politics which was based on caste, class," Modi said.
"The major reason for these results was the country's youth voters who have transcended the boundaries and who have started working for the country's betterment, for freedom from corruption and speedier development," the prime minister said, adding people had entrusted him with a big responsibility and he would fulfil their aspirations.