Read more, desist from using harsh words: PM’s retort to Jaitley

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley for criticising him, saying the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha should read more on the success story of India rather than use harsh words against him.

In his reply to the President’s speech in the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said India was a success story under the UPA government and was a topic of discussion at world fora.

“I urge the leader of opposition to read more. He will then be educated enough not to use the harsh words he used against me by saying I am an eminent economist but made a mess of the country,” he said.

On Tuesday, while attacking the prime minister, Jaitley had said that though there was a wide consensus on Manmohan Singh being an “honest man” and his erudition as an economist, but the country did not have the government it deserves. “What use is that personal trait if he leads one of the most dishonest governments in history,” he had said.

The prime minister, who is 78 and has undergone heart surgery in 2009, spoke at length in parliament Thursday. He spoke thrice in the two houses on a single day - once in the Lok Sabha, then in the Rajya Sabha. Earlier, he also answered supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha. Manmohan Singh was seen sipping water during his replies - each lasting for about 45 minutes.

In the Lok Sabha too, striking a personal note, the prime minister said that during parliamentary debates questions can be raised on policy and its implementation, but not on his intentions. “If you start questioning intentions, this is not good for the growth of the parliamentary system,” he added.

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