In arguably his last lap as Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh today launched a blistering attack on the BJP linking the slump in the economy and the dip in investor sentiment to what he called the Opposition party’s frequent disruptions of Parliament that, he said, stalled key reforms.
He said the BJP had never reconciled to the fact that it was voted out of power nine years ago, leading to testy exchanges between him and Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley.
Singh today took on the BJP after Jaitley blamed the government for “regularly fracturing” the “political environment” which was needed for forging a cross-party consensus. Singh argued that the conduct of Parliament was an important factor in determining investor sentiment. “Building of consensus is both the responsibility of government and the opposition. I wish the conduct of the opposition party was consistent while letting the ruling party govern,” he said. “If the record of the last nine years is looked at, the principal opposition has never reconciled to the fact that it was voted out of power nine years back. Have you ever heard of a situation in Parliamentary system where the Prime Minister is not allowed to introduce his council of ministers? Have you heard of Parliament in any other country where the members of the opposition walks into the Well shouting ‘Prime Minister chor hai’? The type of things said here...” he said leading to commotion and Jaitley retorting “have you heard of any democracy where the prime minister has won the vote of confidence by buying MPs?”
Virtually rejecting the Prime Minister’s argument that the rupee has depreciated because of external factors, Jaitley spoke about “policy paralysis”, UPA’s preference to populist policies over fiscal prudence and the spiral effect of governmental corruption like in allocation of coal block and 2G spectrum licenses adversely affecting the economy and eroding investor confidence.
A “failed candidate in the class always has an explanation that the whole class has failed,” he said adding that “that is not an explanation.” He went on to rub it in that the legacy that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will leave behind will not be the same as the legacy he has left behind as Finance Minister. It will be “after me, the deluge.”
“Your idea of democracy is that when the government is in trouble, you need the help of opposition parties,” he said. Amid the ruckus, Jaitley was contested