You will always remain a hero to the middle class and aspirational youth: Kharge tells Manmohan

Congress president’s letter to the former Prime Minister came as the latter is all set to retire as a member of the Rajya Sabha

April 02, 2024 11:38 pm | Updated 11:39 pm IST - New Delhi

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in 2019.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with party leader Mallikarjun Kharge in 2019. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on April 2 said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would always be a hero to the middle class and aspirational youth, a guide to industrialists, and a benefactor to the poor, whose lives were changed by Dr. Singh’s reformist policies.

Mr. Kharge made these remarks in a letter he wrote to Dr. Singh as the former Prime Minister is all set to retire as a member of the Rajya Sabha. He said Dr. Singh had been always been a source of wisdom, and urged him to continue as the moral compass of the nation by speaking to citizens as often as possible.

“As you retire today from the Rajya Sabha after having served for more than three decades, an era comes to an end. Very few people can say they have served our nation with more dedication and more devotion than you. Very few people have accomplished as much as you for the nation and its people,” Mr. Kharge said.

“We live in times that are largely shaped by you. The economic prosperity and stability that we enjoy today is built on the foundations laid by you along with our former Prime Minister, Bharat Ratna Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao,” Mr. Kharge wrote.

The Congress chief said it had been a privilege for him to be a Minister in Dr. Singh’s Cabinet, which brought about landmark reforms. “You have shown that it is possible to pursue economic policies that were equally beneficial to large industries, young entrepreneurs, small businesses, the salaried class and the poor,” Mr. Kharge wrote, noting that India had been able to lift 27 crore people out of poverty.

“You will always remain a hero to the middle class and the aspirational youth, a leader and guide to the industrialists and entrepreneurs, and a benefactor to all those poor who were able to climb out of poverty due to your economic policies,” Mr. Kharge said.

From launching the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to successfully negotiating with the United States for the the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, the Congress chief narrated how Dr. Singh displayed his leadership qualities.

Mr. Kharge recalled the “respect” shown to Dr. Singh by American Presidents. “I remember President Obama mentioning about you that ‘Whenever the Indian Prime Minister speaks, the whole world listens to him.’ These are only few instances that I am mentioning out of your many contributions to the nation,” he said.

Mr. Kharge claimed that though the Narendra Modi government was reluctant to give credit to him, many of their policies were simply a continuation of Dr. Singh’s government, including direct transfer of benefits to individual beneficiaries by creating zero balance accounts through Aadhaar.

Noting that the nation missed the dignified, measured, soft-spoken yet statesman-like words of Dr. Singh, Mr Kharge’s letter targeted the present government by saying, “the current political situation is such that unscrupulousness is being equated with astute leadership”.

“You showed it is possible to criticise without getting personal. The nation and the people will soon see through the lies of the current government. Just like how the sun and the moon can never be hidden, the truth can also never be hidden. People will realise the import of your words soon,” the Congress president said.

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