A bitter war of words ensued between Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Congress member A Revanth Reddy in the Lok Sabha on Monday over rupee depreciation and the overall state of the economy.
The drama began during Question Hour, when Reddy, who represents Telangana’s Malkajgiri, while asking a question on depreciation of rupee, referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s old statement on rupee’s fall, which he had made when he was Gujarat Chief Minister.
Reddy said, quoting Modi’s statement, that when the rupee was at 66 against the dollar, it was stated that it had gone to the ICU. So now when rupee is at 83.20, it seems like it is heading towards the mortuary.
He said that both he and Modi have the same question – does the government have any action plan to bring back the rupee home healthy from the mortuary?
Sitharaman, while responding to the question, said that “some people in Parliament are jealous of the country’s growing economy”.
She said that even though the country was the fastest growing economy, the opposition was “jealous” and had a problem with it and took it as a joke.
Attacking the Congress MP for bringing up Modi’s old statement, the Finance Minister said that if the member remembers that statement, then he must also refer to the economic parameters of those times, “when the entire economy was in ICU”.
“Today, despite the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war, our economy is the fastest-growing economy,” she added.
Sitharaman said that the value of the dollar is appreciating against currencies across the globe and only the Indian economy has shown robustness against it. “It should be a matter of great satisfaction and not of fun,” she said.
When the Congress MP made a reference to his caste while asking the question and also quoted Modi’s statement, Speaker Om Birla cautioned him and told him to ask a proper question.
The Speaker said that nobody in the House comes on the basis of caste or religion, rather people select their representatives as per democratic norms. He warned that he would be forced to take action against anyone who uses such terms in the House.