Hitting back at the Narendra Modi-led central government over the ‘silent PM’ jibe, former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said he was never afraid of talking to the press during his tenure as PM.
“I think these volumes (his book) speak for themselves. I wasn’t the PM, who was afraid of talking to the press,” Singh said during the launch of his book ‘Changing India’.
Singh’s remark comes days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi ridiculed Modi for not holding a press conference ever since becoming the Prime Minister in 2014. Prior to the last general elections, BJP and Modi had launched aggressive campaigning against the Congress, mockingly referring Singh as “Maun Mohan Singh” for what they called his “silence” over crucial issues like price rise and corruption.
Pointing out that he used to address media frequently, Singh said he held a presser whenever he used to return from a foreign trip.
Weighing in on the apparent rift between the RBI and the finance ministry, Singh said the relationship between the government and the RBI is like that of “husband-wife” and the difference of opinions must be resolved in a manner that the two institutions work in harmony.
Singh, who is also a former RBI governor, said one has to respect the autonomy and the independence of the RBI. “At the same time, I would say the relation between government and RBI is like husband-wife relationship. There will be hiccups, there will be difference of opinion, but ultimately these must be harmonised in a manner that these two great institutions can work in harmony,” Singh said.
Singh’s comment also comes against the backdrop of speculations regarding Centre’s role in the resignation of RBI Governor Urjit Patel. However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday morning has denied any such involvement and said the government did not ask Patel to step down from his post.
Singh, who is also a renowned economist, said India has witnessed an average growth rate of about 7 percent since 1991. “Despite all hiccups, hurdles, India will get its action right… India is destined to be a major powerhouse of global economy,” Singh said.
Speaking on the decision of the Congress government to waive the loans of the farmers in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Singh said the party is bound to honour the commitment that it had made to the people of the states which went to the polls. “We have to honour that commitment, that is a part of the election manifesto of the states which went to polls. So the chief ministers have announced that,” he said.
On Monday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath signed an order to waive farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh. Hours later, Chhattisgarh followed the suit, with Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announcing that the Cabinet had decided to waive loans of more than 16 lakh farmers to the tune of Rs 6,100 crore.
With inputs from ANI, PTI