Union Minister Jitendra Singh today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “raincoat” remark against his predecessor Manmohan Singh was a compliment as he had “emerged unscathed” from scandals and scams in the UPA rule. “The Prime Minister was actually quite appreciative of Manmohan Singh. He said that despite scandals and scams … not withstanding the stigma attached to his colleagues, the former prime minister had an image and character to emerge unscathed. It is a compliment to him,” he said. The minister said the Congress leadership was “hesitant” to compliment leaders outside a “particular” family be it Manmohan Singh, P V Narsimha Rao or Sardar Patel.
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“They are always hesitant to compliment their own leaders for the fear of risking the displeasure of a particular part, particular family or a dynasty,” he said.
He accused the Opposition of running away from debate in Parliament and said the government was ready for discussing every issue “even if there is dissent”.
“We are ready for a discussion on any issue even if there is dissent and this has been reiterated time and again by our spokespersons and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister.
“It is the Opposition which is running away from the argument and the session. It is a burden on the taxpayers’ money. People are not going to forgive them for this,” the minister told reporters.
Jitendra said the Opposition did not have “enough” arguments to discuss the issues and was making excuses to avoid a debate.
About the Kulgam encounter in which four militants, two army men and a civilian were killed, the Union Minister in Prime Minister’s Office said terrorism on Indian soil is being sponsored by Islamabad.
“Pakistan has emerged as the epicentre of terrorism. Sooner or later, terrorism will consume the soil from which it originates.
“There is a series of evidence and it’s no longer a secret that terrorism on Indian soil, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, is promoted and exported from Islamabad,” he said.
The minister said the entire world is “coming round” to the Modi government’s assertion that Pakistan must contain the export of terrorism from its soil.
“The sooner it does the better it will be… not only for the Indian subcontinent but for Pakistan as well,” he added.
On the UP assembly polls, Jitendra said: “BJP is way ahead of all the other parties. The people are looking for a change and an alternative to SP and BSP.”
Asked about the resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for the return of Kashmiri Pandits and other migrants, he said BJP and its government at the Centre and in the state in alliance with PDP is committed to ensuring “dignified and respectable return of KPs to the Valley”.
“Composite culture in Kashmir is not possible without Kashmiri Pandits,” he said.