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9 Feb 2017

Peeping PM's bath barb - Shower strike on Manmohan

Basant Kumar Mohanty, TT, New Delhi, Feb. 8: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today proved that when he is in the mood to display his ability to pay back in the same coin, no place is out of bounds, not even his predecessor's bathroom. 
"Only Dr Sahab knows the art of taking bath in the bathroom while wearing a raincoat. No one else does," Modi told the Rajya Sabha today, carrying out a shower strike on Manmohan Singh for daring to describe the demonetisation drive as "organised loot and legalised plunder".
The seemingly bottled-up bile found an outlet two months after the gentle economist had skewered the implementation of demonetisation.
Today, Modi started out by saying that "in the last session, Manmohan Singh had put forth his views".
Like a good disciple of the Mark Antony school of oratory, the Prime Minister then praised Manmohan. "He is a very respectable man. And he had direct relationship with India's economic decisions for 30-35 years and had been into decision-making roles. There would hardly be any person from the economic world who has had such an influence lasting for half of the 70 years of independence."
Then came the rapier thrust. "And see the number of scams that have surfaced."
And the coup de grace. " Lekin khaas karke hum raajnetaon ne Doctor Sahab se bahut kuchh seekhne jaisa hai. Itna saara hua, unpar ek daag nahi laga. Bathroom mein raincoat pehan kar nahana, ye kala toh Doctor Sahab hi jaante hain. Aur koi nahi jaanta. (But especially we politicians need to learn a lot from Dr Sahab. So much happened but not a single taint on him. Only Dr Sahab knows the art of taking bath in the bathroom while wearing a raincoat. No one else does)."
At this point, the Prime Minister appeared to have realised he had stepped into a puddle. True to his reputation as one who never looks back, Modi thrust himself forward, explaining why he was merely serving a cold dish of revenge.
"When a man who held such a high position used words like 'loot' and 'plunder' in Parliament, there was need on that side to think about it 50 times. One who crosses the limit should be ready to listen. And we also have strength to return in the same coin. And we do it while remaining within the limits of Constitution. We are those who do our work with all due regard to democracy."
Rarely has a bathroom been blessed with the exalted company of the Constitution.
The Opposition chairs in the Rajya Sabha were almost empty by then as the Congress members had already staged a walkout.
Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu defended Modi, saying "the Prime Minister has been called Hitler and Mussolini".
Rahul Gandhi later said: "When a Prime Minister reduces himself to ridiculing his predecessor - years his senior - he hurts the dignity of Parliament and the nation. He demeans his position and himself more than anyone else."
Earlier, as Congress members were making comments while the Prime Minister was speaking, Naidu said that the members were not respecting Parliamentary decorum. The Prime Minister pinned the blame on chairman Hamdi Ansari.
"Aapki adhyakshayata mein sab chal raha hai, (Everything is going on under your chairmanship)," Modi said.
Ansari later explained that the decorum of debate was violated as members tried to intervene when speeches were being delivered.

"Normal practice is that if anybody wants to intervene, the speaker has to concede. But today some members wanted to intervene even though the speaker did not want to concede," Ansari said.

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