M A I N   N E W S

PM a quiet man, but beware of his fury,
opposition warned
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 18
Embarrassed by BJP stalwart LK Advani’s dig at the Prime Minister in Lok Sabha yesterday, the government today fielded Pranab Mukherjee, its Man Friday, in the House to do some damage control and project Manmohan Singh in the best light possible, ahead of general elections.

Known for executing his briefs with perfection, Mukherjee did his job well as expected, and scored a point right at the start of his reply to the debate on motion of thanks to the President’s address. He not only credited Manmohan Singh for the successful completion of five years of the UPA government, but also hailed his softness as his strength.

Mukherjee quoted Hamlet to drive home a point Sonia wanted him to. “I have had the privilege of working with Manmohan Singh from the 1970s. He is a very quiet man but as is said, beware of the fury of a quiet man,” Mukherjee said, leaving a smile on Advani’s face.

He then reminded the House of the determination of his colleague and said, “But for the Prime Minister’s leadership, it would have been very difficult to carry on the coalition for five years. In a democracy, divergent views are bound to be there, but it is in the reconciliation that the strength of a leader lies,” said the External Affairs Minister. Advani had yesterday asked the government what it would have done without Pranab Mukherjee.

For his part, Mukherjee humbly returned the compliments, and chose instead to score a political point for the Congress on the issue of institution building Advani’s had yesterday raised. Hailing the Congress as a builder of institutions, he said: “From the beginning, the Congress has established institutions that got strengthened with the years. We set up the public accounts committee way back in 1921, the office of the Speaker free of the executive and established a parliamentary pay committee directly under the Speaker,” Mukherjee said, not missing the opportunity to thank the Speaker for the manner in which he handled “tough situations”.

Pranab Mukherjee earlier opened his speech by repeatedly expressing gratitude to Advani for the latter’s generous remarks about him yesterday.



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