Hours later, the government released a white paper comparing the state of the economy during the 10 years of Mr Singh’s UPA government and Mr Modi’s NDA administration, and slammed the former’s “lack of leadership” that “came out in full public glare, in shameful public tearing-up of an ordinance”.
The reference was to 2013, when Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tore up a piece of paper to signal his rejection of an ordinance – passed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh – overturning a rule that disqualified convicted MPs and MLAs. The Congress eventually scrapped the ordinance.
In its white paper – which holds the Congress responsible for transforming the “healthy” economy it inherited from the Vajpayee government into a “non-performing” one presented to the Modi administration – the BJP made repeated mention to “weak” leadership when the UPA was in power.
One such example is: “Weak leadership and a consistent lack of intent and action resulted in defence underpreparedness…” This was in reference to a shortage of combat-ready equipment and ammunition for the Indian military, which it called a “chronic issue plaguing our forces”.
The paper does not, however, mention Manmohan Singh by name, except for defining the term ‘UPA government’ as that led by him. The only other reference to Mr Singh is an external citation.
That does not, though, stop the BJP from attacking Mr Singh’s government in a fierce and systematic manner, calling it out for making the world “lose confidence in India’s economic potential” and foisting on the economy a number of corruption scandals, including the 2G and Coalgate scams.
Earlier today Mr Modi, bidding farewell to retiring parliamentarians, recalled an instance when Manmohan Singh arrived in a wheelchair to cast his vote for a key legislation.
“I remember during the voting in the House, it was known that the treasury bench would win but Dr Manmohan Singh came on his wheelchair and cast his vote. This an example of a member being alert of his duties. He was an inspirational example,” he said.
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