There was an uproar in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as the Opposition staged a walkout over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on former prime minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh. Taking a dig at Singh, PM Modi said, “For almost 35 years, Manmohan Singh ji had a lot of influence on country’s economic policies. There was not a single corruption charge against him. The art of taking bath wearing a raincoat can be learnt only from Manmohan Singh.” Responding to the walkout, PM said if they breach decorum, they should have courage to listen to the response too. Meanwhile, when asked for his comments on PM Modi’s remarks by news agency ANI, Manmohan Singh refused to comment.
Replying to a motion of thanks today, the prime minister defended the government’s demonetisation move saying note ban isn’t a political fight or a move to target any party. “Corruption has hurt the economy and common man. We will have to be tough on those cheating the system, when we do that, hands of the poor will be strengthened,” said PM Modi, adding that “in 40 days almost 700 Maoists surrendered during the period of November-December.”
Speaking on demonetisation, the prime minister said what India did will be a case study for economists worldwide. “You quote foreign economists, I can quote 10 of them on the fact that such an action hasn’t been taken in the world ever. Worlds’ economists don’t know parameters to assess it.What India did will be a case study for economists worldwide.” He also defended the Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel for the demonetisation move when he said,”Attacks on my party, our govt, on me understandable but why was RBI Governor dragged into this, it was not good.”
The prime minister also hit out at the Congress citing a book written by former bureaucrat Madhav Godbole where he wrote that in 1971 Indira Gandhi was advised by then Finance Minister to demonetise, but she rejected idea. “You (Anand Sharma) are showing so much zeal, why were you quiet till now? Why did you not sue Madhav Godbole?” asked the Prime Minister.
Over the issue of new notes recovered from terrorists in Kashmir, PM Modi slammed the Opposition saying, “A few people are raising the issue of new notes being recovered from terrorists in Kashmir. I want to tell the banks were looted by them and then they were shot dead by the forces.”
Meanwhile, the Opposition took a dim view of his speech. Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “Look at his arrogance, he chooses to speak when everyone else is done and then makes unsubstantiated allegations.” Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also condemned his remark on Manmohan Singh. “I don’t have words to condemn his remarks on Manmohan Singh,” he told news agency ANI. While maintaing that no prime minister has made such comments in the past, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidamabaram told ANI, “Walked out as protest, such harsh and ugly comments not acceptable.”