In his last interview as prime minister of India in January 2014, Manmohan Singh
had said: “I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media, or for that matter, the Opposition parties in Parliament.”
turned 85 today. With the economy doing poorly and Singh’s assessment of the impact of demonetisation
turning out to be prophetic, his detractors have been forced to change their appraisal of his 10-year-long prime ministerial tenure.
The social media, where he was reviled no end in the last years of his prime ministerial tenure, reacted positively. Hashtag #Manmohansingh trended on Twitter. “Lashed out at MMS so many times pre-2014. Only later understood what he has done for the country. Happy birthday,” tweeted @knowabhilash. Last week, Singh got a standing ovation from students at a college in Mohali.
In his January 2014 interview, Singh had made another prophecy, which was also tweeted by some today. He had said that “it will be disastrous for the country to have Shri Narendra Modi
as the Prime Minister”.
Reacting to the BJP
and Modi’s charge that he has been a weak prime minister, Singh had said he did not believe that he has been a weak PM. “That is for historians to judge. The BJP
and its associates may say whatever they like. But if by “strong prime minister” you mean that you preside over a mass massacre of innocent citizens on the streets of Ahmedabad, that is the measure of strength, I do not believe that sort of strength this country needs, least of all, in its Prime Minister.”
Modi also tweeted birthday greetings to Singh. After Singh had termed demonetisation
“organised loot” and “legalized plunder” and forecast that it would lead to a two per cent drop in gross domestic product, Modi had lashed out at him. In Rajya Sabha in February and in a reference to no corruption allegations against Singh, the PM had said that “the art of bathing in a bathroom with a raincoat on” is known only to the former prime minister.
In recent months, Singh has been extremely critical of not just demonetisation, but the “hasty” rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.