Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday said that the “raincoat” jibe at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh probably came of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “peculiar imagination”. “I think the raincoat example came out of the peculiar type of imagination that the Prime Minister has,” Yechury said half jokingly while speaking with reporters here. Asked about his observation of Modi’s attack on Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, Yechury said: “There is a saying that in a street fight, a gentleman never wins because he cannot stoop to the level of the street fighter.” He said that even if Manmohan Singh had risen up to respond to Modi’s jibe, the Prime Minister in all likelihood would not have listened to him. “In all likelihood, he (Modi) would have meted out the same response to Manmohan Singh which he did to Sharad Yadav and me. He told us to sit down, saying he would listen to us later. But that ‘later’ never came,” Yechury said.
He said that usually when a speaker on the floor makes a direct reference to another member, that member has a right to intervene and put his point.
Earlier in the day, in a series of social media posts, the CPI-M leader attacked the Prime Minister, saying Modi has destroyed the accountability to Parliament by refusing to answer members.
“Prime Minister refuses to answer a single point raised in the debate, destroying accountability to Parliament and people,” Yechury said in Facebook post.
“He has lowered the bar of Parliamentary democracy to near-obscene levels. Fascistic demagoguery is no substitute for accountability,” he added. He also tweeted his disapproval of Modi’s ‘raincoat’ comment.
On Wednesday, Modi in a jibe at Manmohan Singh said that the former Prime Minister had managed to keep a clean image himself despite the numerous scams during his term.
“For around 35 years, he (Manmohan) has had a say or a role in India’s economic policy and decisions. In these 35 years, we heard of many a scam, but he has remained free of any blemish,” Modi said.
“There is a lot for us politicians to learn… so much happened he did not get even a taint. Only Doctor Sahab (Manmohan Singh) knows the art of bathing wearing a rain coat,” he said, resulting in a huge uproar from Congress benches.
The Congress MPs walked out at this point.
Opposition leaders including Sitaram Yechury of CPI-M and Sharad Yadav of JD-U tried to intervene at certain points while Modi was speaking but the Prime Minister told them to sit down and put their point later.
After the speech when Yadav and Yechury stood up to made their point, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi objected to it saying there was no tradition of putting up a point after the Prime Minister’s reply.
The entire opposition walked out in protest one after the other, and the Motion of Thanks was adopted on Wednesday with almost the entire opposition benches vacant.