New Delhi: Taunting Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not confronting the media very often, Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that he was not the Prime Minister who was afraid of talking to the press instead he used to meet press regularly on every foreign trip.
Sarcastically commenting on PM Modi, Dr. Singh stated: “People say I was a silent Prime Minister. I think these (six) volumes (of his book) speak for themselves. I wasn’t the PM who was afraid of talking to the press. I met press regularly and on every foreign trip I undertook, I had a press conference on board or immediately on return.”
His statement was an obvious dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is yet to host a press conference since taking charge.
“I have been termed as an accident prime minister of the country, but I think that I was also an accidental finance minister,” Dr Singh said after the launch.
This is not the first time that the former PM has taken a jibe at PM Modi. In November at a book launch of Congress leader Manish Tewari, he said, “My advice to the prime minister is that he should exercise due restraint becoming of the office of the Prime Minister.”
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had, earlier this month, criticised PM Modi for never addressing a press conference in his tenure, and suggested he should try addressing reporters as it is fun to be asked questions.
Singh’s criticism of the current government also extended to the tiff that the BJP-led NDA government has had with the last RBI chairperson Urjit Patel over issues of autonomy of the central bank and the revision of the GDP back-series announced by the federal think tank NITi Aayog, which lowered the growth rate during the time Dr Singh was PM.
On the GDP numbers, he said, “I am not an expert on GDP statistics, but I think it’s not proper that while releasing GDP numbers, they should not be done by people with no expertise. Deputy chairman of the planning commission (NITI Aayog) was announcing these numbers that reduced the credibility of the exercise.” The Congress has accused the government of “manipulating” GDP data of previous years in an attempt to undermine India’s growth during the UPA rule.
On the farm loan waiver announced by the newly sworn-in Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on their first day in office, Manmohan Singh said, “We have to honour the commitment that was part of the election manifesto.