- The former Prime Minister said he used to address press meets regularly
- Manmohan Singh was speaking at the launch of his book 'Changing India'
- He, however, was evasive on his party's loan waivers and the RBI row
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today attacked his successor Narendra Modi over his alleged reluctance to comment on contentious issues, indicating that it was unfair to brand him as "silent" when PM Modi clearly seems to be the one avoiding the media.
"People say I was a silent Prime Minister. But I wasn't the Prime Minister who was afraid of talking to the press. I met the press regularly, and after every foreign trip I undertook, I gave a press conference," Mr Singh said on the sidelines of an event held to release his book Changing India.
PM Modi has not addressed a single press conference ever since he stormed to power in 2014. This distinction has often drawn criticism from political detractors, especially Congress president Rahul Gandhi who recently asked him to "try one someday, because it's fun having questions thrown at you".
A set of five volumes, Changing India details Mr Singh's life as an economist as well as his 10-year period at the helm of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime.
Mr Singh was evasive on the economic feasibility of the farm loan waivers recently announced by the new Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. "The chief ministers announced it because we have to honour the commitments made in the election manifesto of states that went to the polls," he said, adding that he has not studied the likely impact of the move yet.
A question on the government trying to get its hands on the monetary reserves kept in the Reserve Bank of India also went unanswered, with the former Prime Minister (who, incidentally, had served as the central bank's governor in the 1980s) restricting himself to hoping that the two institutions would "find ways and means to work in harmony with each other".
Mr Singh had earlier termed former RBI governor Urjit Patel's resignation as a "severe blow" to the country's economy.
The former Prime Minister, however, said that he has made the most of his time spent governing the country. "Life has been a great adventure and enterprise, and I have no regrets. The country has been immensely kind to me and I will never be able to repay this debt," he asserted.
(With inputs from ANI)