Former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was often accused of being silent as one scam after another broke under his reign during his second term between 2009 to 2014. Narendra Modi, then in his role as Gujarat's Chief Minister and Prime Ministerial candidate of the BJP often made Manmohan Singh his punching bag, pointing out to Singh's inability to prevent corruption and the resultant policy paralysis in the country. Singh was accused by Modi of being 'mute' and lowering the dignity of the Prime Minister's office. But looks like, Manmohan Singh is now returning the favor.
Over the last 18 months since Narendra Modi was voted to power, Manmohan Singh has on multiple occasions taken potshots against the Prime Minister. Not known for his public speaking skills or for delivering a political punch to his opponents in public in his long years as a politician, Singh has charted a new course, often making fun of Modi's oratory skills.
Here are some of his famous sayings on the Modi government:
1. Speaking at the concluding ceremony of the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Manmohan Singh mixed aggression with humor and said: "Hamare Pradhan Mantri vikas ki baat karte hain. Jahan Jaate hain vikas ke naam par apni dukandaari chamkaane ki baat karte hain (Our Prime Minister talks of development. Wherever he goes, he tries to promote himself in the name of development)."
2. On June 9, 2015 while addressing the Congress chief ministers' meeting in New Delhi, Manmohan Singh said: "I have to acknowledge that my successor has been a more adept salesman, event manager and communicator than me."
3. On May 28,2015 while speaking at a function organised by the Congress’s student wing, NSUI, Manmohan Singh responded to BJP's description of the UPA regime as corrupt. He said: “I want to assure you that we have been fighting corruption, we will continue to fight corruption and there will be no compromise with corruption. As far as I am concerned, I can say in all humility that I have not used my public office to enrich myself, to enrich my family or to enrich my friends.
“But still, the BJP government keeps on harping on the theme of corruption just because it wants to distract the attention of the people to non-issues”, he added
4. At the same event, he also termed Modi’s pet project, Make in India, a “carbon copy” of the UPA’s new manufacturing policy, and accused the government of suppressing dissent and putting the institution of democracy under threat.
While Narendra Modi is yet to respond to any of these statements, it will not be surprising if he decides to do so in his own style. The face-off between a current Prime Minister and a former Prime Minister has never been so interesting in the past.