At the Congress Working Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dr Singh had expressed concern at the steep fall in indicators of economic activity, loss of millions of job and the collapse of private sector investment due to demonetisation which led to the economy to rely on just one engine, public spending.
Known for his one-liners and quick wit, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu gave the debate a twist, and thanked Dr Singh, a respected economist, for publicly acknowledging that India was propelled by a single, high-powered engine, PM Narendra Modi.
In a swipe at Dr Singh, the Union Minister said it was true that there was only one engine in the NDA government, a contrast to the 10 years when Dr Singh was the country's prime minister when two engines pulled in different directions and the country came to a standstill.
"That is the difference between UPA and NDA. Dr Manmohan Singh acknowledged this single high powered engine of Modi which has a single purpose of Making of Developed India. I thank him," Mr Naidu told reporters, according to news agency, Press Trust of India.
Turning to Rahul Gandhi, 46, who is expected to replace Sonia Gandhi as Congress president by October despite a string of electoral losses, Mr Naidu said the Congress was desperately looking for an engine without any hope. For the country, this problem was solved when people discovered Modi in 2014, he added.
Earlier this year, Dr Singh drew a sharp comeback from PM Modi when he called the government's abrupt decision to ban high-denomination notes as "organised loot and legalised plunder". In parliament, PM Modi responded that his predecessor, during whose terms huge swindles were orchestrated in sectors ranging from coal to telecom, was unique "in the art of taking a bath while wearing a raincoat."