Was not afraid of speaking to press as PM, says Manmohan

Was not afraid of speaking to press as PM, says Manmohan

New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks at the launches his book “Changing India’, a five-volume book, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist)

New Delhi, December 18 (IANS) In an apparent dig at PrimeMinister Narendra Modi who is yet to hold a press conference, his predecessorand Congress veteran Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said as Prime Minister, “hewas never afraid of speaking to the press”.

Speaking at the launch of his book “ChangingIndia”, the former Prime Minister also asserted that India was destined tobecome a major economic global power.

“I was not the Prime Minister who was afraid of talkingto the press. I met the press regularly, and on every foreign trip that Iundertook, I had a press conference on return.

“There are large number of those press conferenceswhich have been described in the book,” he said at the event.

A set of five volumes, “Changing India” detailshis life as an economist as well as his 10-year period at the helm of theCongress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.

“People say I was a silent Prime Minister, but thesevolumes will speak for themselves. I don’t want to boast about my achievementsas a Prime Minister, but the events that took place are well described in thesevolumes,” he said.

Modi has not once faced the press ever since he became thePrime Minister in 2014.

Talking about future of the country, Manmohan Singh saiddespite all the hiccups, India was destined to become a major globalpowerhouse.

“The emergence of India as a major global power is onesuch idea whose time has come and no power on earth can stop such anidea,” said Singh, quoting Victor Hugo, whom he had quoted as the thenFinance Minister during his historic 1991 budget speech.

Asked if the farm loan waivers by the new Congressgovernments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not bad economics, Singhsaid the commitments need to be fulfilled.

“Whatever it is, the commitments that have been madehave to be honoured,” he said speaking with media on the sidelines of theevent.

Commenting on the ongoing RBI turmoil, the former PrimeMinister hoped that the government would find a way to work in”harmony” with the RBI.

“We need a strong, independent RBI which has to work inclose cooperation with the central government. I hope the RBI and thegovernment would find ways to work in harmony,” Singh said.

Earlier, he recalled how once on his advice, former PrimeMinister Narasimha Rao bypassed the Cabinet decision to devalue the rupee.

“He (Rao) signed on a handwritten note which I havepreserved to this day,” he said, recalling many more anecdotes in his longjourney within the Union government.