New Delhi [India], Feb 08.: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday provoked a walk out in the Rajya Sabha with his scathing attack on his predecessor and veteran economist Dr.
Manmohan Singh. Taking a dig at his squeaky clean record of 35 years of service as an economist, he accused the former prime minister of having a talent of 'bathing in raincoats', and getting away with the ugliest of scams.
"Dr. Manmohan Singh has played a significant role in the economic system of India. In the history of India it is rare to find a man who has had a such a long relationship with the economy of India, 35 years of 70 years of independence.", Prime Minister said in reply to the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in Rajya Sabha today.
He further added that in 35 years of service, so many scams surfaced, yet it marked no stain on Dr. Manmohan as an economist. "We leaders have so much to study as so much happened at the time, but there was not a single blot on him.
This is a special skill Dr. Manmohan Singh excelled at and we should all learn this art of bathing in raincoat," he said. The remark stirred an instant outrage, with leaders of Congress deciding to walk out amid the futile pleas of Speaker Hamid Ansari to maintain the decorum of the house.
Outside the parliament, Dr. Manmohan maintained his trademark calm and simply chose not to respond to questions over the Prime Minister's statement.
Resuming his speech, Prime Minister Modi hit back at Congress saying when they used words like "loot" and "plunder", why was no second thought given.
"We have the strength of paying back in the same coin and language, and yet within the confines of the Constitution.
This is the exhibit of an attitude where you can't accept defeat," he said to the half empty House. Commending the will of the country in the 'tough' times of Demonetisation, the Prime Minister said, "There have been multiple attempts to mobilise the country, and we have seen it ourselves how a smallest altercation entails an agitation in form of burning cars and buses.
But to fight this battle the will of the country is so strong, that no such anecdote took place. We should proudly put out in display the strong will of the citizens of the country." Taking the Opposition head on, over the relentless criticism against demonetisation, Prime Minister Modi said that a horizontal divide has been witnessed- on one side are the people of India and Government and on the other side are a group of political leaders.
Elucidating the positive aftermaths of the currency swap, the Prime Minister said that the bold step of banning high denomination notes had many positive affects and that one should be happy for the nation.
"Several members have shared their views and there was considerable discussion on demonetisation. The fight against corruption and black money is not a political fight. It is not to single out any particular party. Corruption has adversely impacted the aspirations of the poor and the middle class. We will have to be tough on those who are cheating the system. When we do that, the hands of the poor will be strengthened," said Prime Minister Modi in Rajya Sabha.
The Prime Minister also lambasted the Opposition for unnecessarily dragging and targeting Reserve Bank of India (RBI) post demonetisation and urged his political rivals to not make unwarranted comments.
"Attacks on the party I belong to, our government, on me, all of it is understandable. But why was the RBI dragged into this? It was not required," he said. Further urging the Opposition parties to raise above politics and work towards the development of the nation, Prime Minister Modi asserted that there is an urgent need to change one's behaviour and not think less of India.
"There was so much said about what is wrong with the nation...perhaps they were giving a report card of their own record.
We need to change our behaviour. We should not think less of our nation. Let us keep institutions above politics," he said. Prime Minister also took the occasion to explain his digital aspirations for the nation and said that a government will have to look at small aspiration of the society and keep on working to fulfill them.
"With digital payment, we have to work towards fulfilling every small aspiration of our nation. Anand Sharma ji was asking why you are spending crores on Digital technology. Not a single extra penny was spent in development of BHIM application," said Prime Minister Modi. Yesterday also the Prime Minister had trained his gun against Congress, by taking jibe at party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's 'earthquake' remark, by saying that "the earthquake has finally occurred", referring to February 6 night's tremors in Uttarakhand.
"The earthquake finally occurred. I was wondering how it happened. I had heard of the threat long back," Prime Minister Modi said in the Lok Sabha..