Former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s telling speech in Parliament on Thursday, where he tore into the government’s faulty implementation of the demonetisation scheme, not just won him fans all over, but got his detractors to chastise him in the most puerile way possible. In one of the most notable speeches of the Winter Session so far, Manmohan on Thursday said, “Prime Minister has been arguing that this is the way to curb black money, to prevent growth of counterfeit currency notes and also to help in control of terrorist finance activities. I do not disagree with these objectives. But I do want to point out that in the process of demonetisation, monumental mismanagement has been undertaken about which today there is no two opinion in the country as a whole.”
Since 8 November — the night Narendra Modi announced that the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 will be discontinued — it has been a real struggle for a common Indian. But it has taken a bigger toll on our politicians. There was a new issue to argue about. The Opposition got a new reason to stall Parliamentary proceedings. Every Opposition does it, they just forget that small detail when they come to power.
A lot was said (still is being said) about the demonetisation drive. Many said that the prime minister’s intention was great — cutting the source of black money — but the way the scheme was implemented was faulty and mismanaged. But amid all that din, when Manmohan — dubbed as ‘Maunmohan‘ Singh, due to his silence during the “corruption-ridden” UPA regime — got up in Rajya Sabha and sucker-punched the ruling government with his speech, everyone, first, went silent in awe of it and then came out lashing out.
Manmohan, in his speech, quoted economist John Maynard Keynes (like Keynes, he too attended Cambridge many years later).