Monday, Dec 05, 2022

Only Dr (Manmohan) knows art of taking bath wearing a raincoat: PM Modi

The entire Congress bench erupted in protest, the objections loudest from Renuka Chowdhury, Anand Sharma, Digvijaya Singh and Kapil Sibal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, manmohan singh, modi attacks manmohan, modi manmohan, raincoat reamrk, manmohan raincoat, PM Modi, Modi, PM Modi speech, Modi speech, Modi in parliament, Modi in Rajya Sabha, India, India news, Congress, Indian Express, Indian Express News Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Manmohan Singh. File photo

“Bathroom mein raincoat pehen kar ke nahana, yeh kala to Doctor Saab hi jaante hain aur koi nahin jaanta hai (Only Dr Saab knows the art of bathing while wearing a raincoat in the bathroom).”

This one remark by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his predecessor Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday infuriated the Congress and led to a series of Opposition walkouts that eventually left only three political opponents — Sharad Pawar of NCP, Ram Kumar Kashyap of INLD and V Vijay Sai Reddy of YSR Congress — to vote on amendments to the President’s address.

WATCH VIDEO | Congress Demands Apology From PM Modi Over His Remarks Against Dr Manmohan Singh

Targeting Singh, Modi said: “It’s probably the only time in the country’s 70-year history that one man was involved in most of the financial decisions taken over 35 years. For 30 to 35 years, Manmohan Singhji had a lot of influence on the country’s economic policies. Even though there were many scams, there was not a single corruption charge against him.”

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Read | Narendra Modi’s ‘raincoat in bathroom’ comment for Manmohan Singh swarms Twitter with raincoat jokes

The entire Congress bench erupted in protest, the objections loudest from Renuka Chowdhury, Anand Sharma, Digvijaya Singh and Kapil Sibal. “A minute ago your minister was telling us to show some respect to the PM. What happened now?” Chowdhury was heard saying even as Manmohan Singh and his party colleague Karan Singh refused to respond to the remarks.

Chowdhury was referring to Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu who, minutes earlier, had objected to the “running commentary” by a few Congress MPs during the Prime Minister’s reply to the motion of thanks.

 

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With Modi refusing to withdraw his comments, Congress MPs started leaving the House, although Manmohan Singh remained seated. He walked out only after former Defence Minister A K Antony came back and spoke to him. MPs of Samajwadi Party, which has joined hands with the Congress in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, followed suit. Members of the JD(U), CPI, CPM, Trinamool Congress, NCP and INLD stayed back.

Reacting to the Congress walkout, Modi said, “We have the ability to pay back in the same coin. If anyone speaks like this, he should also be ready to face the consequences.” He was referring to Manmohan Singh’s speech in the House during the winter session — speaking on demonetisation, the former Prime Minister had attacked the government, saying “these measures convince me that the way the scheme has been implemented, it is a monumental management failure and, in fact, it is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder of the common people”.

WATCH VIDEO | PM Narendra Modi’s Scathing Attack At Congress In Lok Sabha: Here’s What He Said

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Backing Modi, Naidu told the Chair, “Sir, you should go through Parliament records. The PM has been called Hitler and Mussolini in this House (by the Opposition).”

Focusing mainly on the demonetisation decision, Modi extolled the move saying it was part of the government’s fight against corruption, which is apolitical. He claimed that fake currency notes had been “neutralised” because of it.

Referring to the Opposition’s criticism of the note ban, he said, “For the first time, there is a horizontal divide in the country. It’s the people on one side and the political class on the other. This shows that they (Opposition) are disconnected from the public.”

Speaking on hardships faced by the people in wake of demonetisation, Modi said: “Many people in this country are uneducated, but we should be proud that they are ready to suffer problems to help the country get rid of corruption.” He said the foreign press and economists abroad are critical of the move “because there is no parallel of this decision anywhere else in this world… they have nothing to compare this to.”

Repeating remarks he made in Lok Sabha a day earlier, Modi said demonetisation should have happened in 1971 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He referred to former bureaucrat Madhav Godbole’s book in which he has written how the then finance minister Y B Chavan had recommended demonetisation to curb ill-gotten wealth. “Godbole says in the book that Indira Gandhi replied saying ‘are no more elections to be fought by the Congress ?” Modi said.

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The book’s mention drew loud protests from Congress leader Anand Sharma who had earlier criticised Modi for taking Godbole’s version as the truth. “How often do ministers in this government take their assistants along to their meetings with the PM? Do you think Indira Gandhi would have allowed the Finance Minister’s assistant to hear her discussion with Chavan?” Sharma said.

Countering Sharma, Modi said: “Why are you protesting now? You should have objected when the book was published. Were you sleeping then? If I were you, I would have filed a case against Godbole.” The remarks drew applause and laughter from BJP benches.

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WATCH VIDEO | UP Polls Akhilesh Yadav Hits Out At Centre Over Demonetisation

Defending the RBI Governor, the Prime Minister said that Urjit Patel should not have been attacked by the Opposition because RBI as an institution needs to be respected. He referred to former RBI Governor D Subbarao’s run-in with the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2008 over the liquidity management committee constituted by the government which is mentioned in the former’s book. “They (Congress) accuse us but they should also remember their past,” Modi said.

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During his reply, JD(U) member Sharad Yadav and CPM member Sitaram Yechury wanted to interject but Modi requested them to hear him out first. However, at the end of his speech, both Yadav and Yechury were not allowed to share their inputs as BJP MPs said a discussion on PM’s reply is not a convention. Irked, the two leaders walked out.

TMC MPs left the House when the treasury benches did not relent to their leader Derek O’Brien’s request to observe two minutes silence for the people who died while waiting in bank queues after demonetisation. The President’s address, as a consequence, was passed by Rajya Sabha without any amendment.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 05:04:54 am
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