Probe my assets, PM dares BJP

“If any wrongdoing has been done by me, I invite the Leader of Opposition to look at my properties, which I may have accumulated in the last 41 years. I would accept the verdict of the Leader of Opposition if it is found that I have used public office to amass wealth for myself or for any member of my family,” Singh told the Lok Sabha.

Replying to a debate on corruption, the prime minister said: “In these seven years (as prime minister) or earlier as finance minister, I did make a small contribution in my own way to enhance the prestige of the country, and therefore, when charges are levelled against me, it hurts,” he said.

Veteran BJP MP Murli Ma­nohar Joshi had on Wednesday targeted Singh for corruption by the UPA government, while participating in the debate.

“Yesterday, he (Joshi) made a powerful speech and he turned it into a personal attack on me as if I am the fountain head of corruption and that I have knowingly connived with corruptions of some of my colleagues,” said Singh.

Beneath dignity
The prime minister said he considered beneath his dignity to enter into an argument on issues, which were before the courts or being examined by the Public Accounts Committee. Singh was apparently referring to the 2G spectrum allocation scam and the mess in preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

“In my seven years as prime minister, even when the opposition members have accused me of many crimes, I have never used harsh language in describing the conduct of any member of this House,” he said.

“In the 41 years of my public life, I have served the country to the best of my ability,” he added.

Singh, albeit with his trademark modesty, also sought to put on record his claim to credit for the turnaround of the economy after liberalisation in early 1990s.

Singh said when he had taken over as finance minister of the government led by P V Narasimha Rao in 1991, he had inherited an economy with bankrupt treasury, with foreign exchange reserves totally exhausted and credit worthiness of the country seriously in doubt. “We have ensured that this economy, the bankrupt economy that we inherited, has become one of the fastest growing economies of the world,” he said.
The prime minister said India was respected all over the world, because of the inherent strength of its economy, of its polity, of its democratic system.

He also reiterated his government’s commitments to making efforts to root out corruption and clean up the system.

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