New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday described Congress’ reaction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘raincoat’ jibe against Manmohan Singh as “lacking maturity” and in fact called it a “left-handed compliment”, saying proceedings in Parliament ought to be seen in a different light than a debate in a convent school.
“Parliament is not a dry or dead forum. It is a political forum. In a Parliament debate, the rules which apply are very different from what would apply in a convent school debate and therefore the language that you use, the wit, the repartee and the kind of aggression which is involved is entirely on a differently plank,” said Jaitley in an interview to ET Now.
Citing some instances from the British Parliament, Jaitley said, “Historically those are counted and if some of them were even used in India, I think the Congress party would be boycotting Parliament forever if they got so sanctimonious about it.” He said there is no Pope or priests in Parliament. “Dr Manmohan Singh used a phrase that ‘demonetisation is organised loot and legalised plunder,” he pointed out.
Asked if the PM can acknowledge that he did not really mean it, Jaitley shot back: “You have a party whose two principal leaders say ‘maut ka saudagar’, ‘khoon ki dalali’… I thought the PM was at parliamentary best. He said in a nice way about Dr Manmohan Singh being a clean politician even when the last government was not so keen. What is wrong in saying that?” Meanwhile, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the PM did not owe an apology.
“For, what he has stated is a fact and in no way can be considered to be violative of rules or convention.”
Thetone for the party’s aggressive response was set on Thursday by party chief Amit Shah who, while addressing an election rally in Uttarakhand, dismissed Congress’s protests and recalled Rahul Gandhi’s “khoon ki dalali” jibe at Modi in the wake of last year’s surgical strikes.
He also referred to the “maut ke saudagar” taunt Congress chief Sonia Gandhi threw at Modi while campaigning against him in 2007. The BJP chief also referred to the controversial expression Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader in Lok Sabha, had used recently while referring to Modi. Prasad alleged that the Congress leadership did not even let the body of former PM P V Narasimha Rao inside the party headquarters.
He alleged that the Congress leadership did not allow Rao to be cremated in New Delhi. Congress posed as a defender of Manmohan only because he allowed his so-called credibility to be used for corruption and crony capitalism under UPA, Prasad said.