New Delhi: Enraged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘bathroom’ remark on his predecessor Manmohan Singh, Congress parliamentarians walked out of Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“For almost 35 years, Manmohan Singh had a lot of influence on the country’s economic policies… So many scams but not a stain on him. Only Manmohan Singh knows the art of ‘bathing’ wearing a raincoat,” Modi had said. Furthermore, Modi attacked former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi over her reluctance to implement demonetisation in 1971.
Former bureaucrat Madhav Godbole in a book said that in 1971 Indira Gandhi was advised by the then Finance Minister to enforce note ban, but she rejected the idea, he said. Modi added that he expected Left parties to support his government on demonetisation. Even Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Jyoti Basu had criticised Indira Gandhi for not taking action on black money, Modi said. Upset by the Prime Minister’s comments, Congress MPs staged a walkout.
Modi was, however, vociferous in defending his government’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8. He said demonetisation is not a political fight and no country has ever taken such a decision against the parallel economy that runs in the country. Over 700 Maoists surrendered since demonetisation was implemented, Modi said.
He said the citizens will see the real benefits of demonetisation in medium to long-term. People opposing note ban today will understand its benefits in future, he added. The government’s real target is to help society move towards cash-less regime gradually, Modi said. Modi said the Monetary Policy Committee was formed to strengthen Reserve Bank of India. The MPC doesn’t have any government representative and this was done to give more independence to RBI, he said.
Referring to the questions being raised on RBI’s role in note ban, Modi said an autonomous body like RBI should be kept out of political barbs.