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Jaitley salutes Manmohan as FM, but raises ? as PM

Jaitley salutes Manmohan as FM, but raises ? as PM
Highlights

Jaitley Salutes Manmohan as Finance Minister, but Raises ? as PM, BJP leader Arun Jaitley praised Manmohan Singh’s role as Finance Minister in P V Narasimha Rao Cabinet, rather than as the PM.

  • The footprints he left behind as a Finance Minister during this period will be remembered for a long time
  • Manmohan was literally a PM announced by Sonia Gandhi. “He had to function within that limitation”
  • He was a ‘syana aadmi’. His words were measured and he would reflect before making a comment
  • P V was never been given the level of credit which he truly deserved. I am sure history will reassess him

Jaitley Salutes Manmohan as Finance Minister, but Raises ? as PMNew Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley praised Manmohan Singh’s role as Finance Minister in P V Narasimha Rao Cabinet, rather than as the PM. “I had recently suggested to the PM that I personally would be interested in reading his memoirs, those relating to the period 1991-96. The footprints he left behind as a Finance Minister during this period will be remembered for a long time,” he remarked. “If he was to write his memoirs and I will always want to read the chapter which deals with 1991-96 period,” he said.

In his blog, Jaitley said, “Unquestionably Manmohan was a very good FM. He got a lot of support from his PM P V Narasimha Rao for initiating the economic reforms in 1991. For a Congress government which had always professed the virtues of regulation a reformist approach was creditable. P V was never been given the level of credit which he truly deserved. I am sure history will reassess him.”

Jaitley said Manmohan became PM on account of certain circumstances, which compelled Sonia Gandhi to withdraw her name from the reckoning. He was literally a PM announced by Sonia Gandhi. “He had to function within that limitation,” Jaitley said.

The BJP praised two strong qualities of Manmohan that he discovered, observing him from close quarters for the last 10 years. First, whenever you discussed a serious subject with the PM, he came out as a man of scholarship. He was what we call to as “a syana aadmi” (wise man). His words were measured and he would reflect before making a comment. Second, his personal integrity was always above board. With an element of scholarship he was always be well-read and well prepared on any subject that he dealt with.

Criticising the PM, Jaitley faulted him for not coming out as a leader. He knew that he was vested with limited power and on all major decisions he had to keep the party and its first family in good humor. Thus, when the reform process was blocked on account of decisions of the National Advisory Council or when Rahul Gandhi tore apart the papers of objectionable ordinance, the PM was perceived as a non-leader, who had to accept everything without his opinion mattering significantly, he said.

Jaitley felt that it was his inability to overrule people, which affected his functioning. He did not have the last word. Had he overruled his Finance Minister on the retrospective tax law, knowing fully-well the consequences of retrospective taxation, the PM would have stood out. If he had stood up and cancelled the Coal Blocks allocation once the fraud was revealed or cancelled the 2G licenses, himself, rather than wait for the court to do it, history would have recorded him very differently.

“It was the inability to speak up within his own party that may compel the historians to take a different view of the man,” he added.

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