NEW DELHI: Accusing the opposition of hurting investors' sentiment by repeatedly disrupting Parliament, an angry Manmohan Singh took on the BJP saying it should allow parliament to function if it was worried about the country's economy.
Manmohan Singh sparred with leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, and said that he commands a certain respect despite what the members say.
Hurt by repeated accusations by the BJP, Manmohan Singh asked the Chair: "Have you ever heard of a situation in any parliament where the prime minister is not allowed to introduce his council of ministers.
"Have you heard of any country where MPs shout and walk to the well of the House and say 'Prime Minister chor hai' (the PM is a thief). Despite what some members may say, I do command a certain respect in the council of ministers," he told the Rajya Sabha.
To this Arun Jaitley responded sharply, by saying: "Have you heard of any democracy where PM won a vote of confidence by buying members of parliament?"
Jaitley also lashed out at the explanation of the economic crisis and the depreciating rupee, urging the prime minister to decide whether the government will pick prudence or populism, a reference to the massively-expensive food security scheme that was cleared by the Lok Sabha this week.
Jaitley had earlier criticized the Prime Minister's explanation of the economic crisis and the depreciating rupee, stating that Dr Singh's track record as prime minister was of populist policies, not reform.
"If you continue to follow the course, then the legacy that you leave behind will not be the legacy that you left behind as the finance minister. That legacy was different," he said.
Manmohan Singh also said: "I am glad the principal opposition recognises the need for consensus in the house. But building consensus is the responsibility of both the government and the principal opposition. But their conduct in the house is otherwise," he said.
"The principal opposition has never reconciled itself that it was voted out of power in 2004," he added
This remark caused commotion in the house, with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members noisily protesting.
After Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien intervened, order was restored."