Updates PM conference: Jaitley says PM's press conference a 'farce'

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Manmohan Singh press conference
New Delhi, Jan 3: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed a press conference today, his third one in ten years and ruled out a third term as the PM. Singh also made a very strong attack on BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. 

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4 pm: Arun Jaitley mocks at Rahul Gandhi

Arun Jaitley said: "If after 10  years in politics, Rahul Gandhi is called untested, then it only reflects how little impact he's had in ten years.

Speaking about the Indo-US nuclear deal, Arun Jaitley said: "It is surprising that PM considers Indo-US nuclear deal as a high point. I think the lowest point was bribery of MP's to ensure it," he said.

3.45 pm: 'Singh was bitter towards BJP, Modi'

Jaitley said that 'Manmohan Singh was bitter at the media during the press conference, more bitter towards the Opposition and most bitter at Narendra Modi.'

"During 2G, and coal scam, PM could have taken steps to stop corruption but he did not," Jaitley said. Jaitley said that no leader has been scrutinised like Narendra Modi. "And that has vindicated him. Going by PM's logic, Modi has won in 2002, 2012. Then benefit of PM's logic applies to Modi too," he said.

"It was PM's farewell press conference. it was a time for introspection and not for bitterness," he said.

15.35 pm: Arun Jaitley says Singh's press conference a 'farce'

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that Manmohan Singh's press conference today was a farce and a mere formality. "In other words the press conference was merely a formality to announce his farewell. It was just to declare that he won't be available after 2014 elections," he said. 

He went on to say that the PM admitted that his government failed to check corruption, unemployment and inflation.

Taunting SIngh's press conference, Jaitley said that the most used sentence in the press conference was 'it is up to historians to decide and time will tell.' "In a democracy, time doesn't tell, it is the voters who tell. and what voters say is bad news for Congress, mostly due to Dr Manmohan Singh's failure," he said.

3.30 pm: Announcement on Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate soon?

According to a Times Now, sources say that Congress may announce Rahul Gandhi as its Prime Ministerial candidate.

3.25 pm: How does it matter who becomes the PM says Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal today said that political parties need to address issues concerning ordinary people instead of constantly debating about the next prime minister.

"How does it matter who becomes the Prime Minister," he told reporters today.

1.00 pm: Rajnath Singh criticises Prime Minister

Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh today said that comments made by the PM on Narendra Modi are laughable. "Despite Court giving Modiji a clean chit, its unfortunate that PM made such comments on Modi. He did not speak on national security, steps to boost internal and external security during his speech. I strongly condemn his comments on Modi," Rajnath Singh said.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>The PM tried to belittle the achievements of the NDA government without taking the ground reality into account. He exposed his govt failures</p>— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) <a href="https://twitter.com/BJPRajnathSingh/statuses/419064722101510144">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

12.45 pm: BJP hits out at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Minutes after Manmohan Singh launched a scathing attack on Narendra Modi, BJP hit back at Singh for his comments. Nirmala Sitaraman, BJP spokesperson tweeted-

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>PM in his Press Con calls a thrice elected CM as 'mass murderer' while he absolves himself of corruption in UPA-I based on his reelection!</p>— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) <a href="https://twitter.com/nsitharaman/statuses/418994865650008064">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>Utterly disappointed -the PM in his Press Conf,alleges CM Gujarat. Courts have found no merit. On Coalgate even inter/gtn hasn't happened.</p>— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) <a href="https://twitter.com/nsitharaman/statuses/418996619850563585">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Meanwhile Smriti Irani from BJP too tweeted-

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>For the PM top make polite noises on the economy while unemployment increases, infrastructure crumbles, prices rise now dats a DISASTER</p>— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) <a href="https://twitter.com/smritiirani/statuses/419006235619651584">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

12.08 pm: 'I would like to do a lot more in the area of healthcare'

On asking about his worst regret as a PM, Manmohan Singh said that he hadn't thought through this but said that he wanted to more in the area of healthcare in the rural sector specially providing the health care to children and women.

12.00 pm: 'Best moment as PM when we struck nuclear deal with US'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that his best moment as the PM was when the country struck a nuclear deal with the US. On asking him about his views on the Aam Aadmi Party's performance in Delhi Assembly elections, Singh said that people have put their faith in AAP. "Only time will tell if this phenomenon is capable of handling the challenges," he said.

11.50 am: 'Mrs Gandhi has supported me enormously'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh praised Sonia Gandhi today and said that she had supported him tremendously. "For me Mrs Gandhi's support has been an enormous help in dealing with complex issues," he said. He also went on to add that the party never forced him to step down.

11.43 am: 'It will be disastrous for the country if Modi becomes PM'

On asking if the next Prime Ministerial race between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi will be of equal stature, Manmohan Singh said: "it will be disastrous for the country if Narendra Modi will be the next PM. I have full confidence that the next PM will be from the UPA," he said.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>I am confident that the next Prime Minister will be from the UPA coalition. PM</p>— Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) <a href="https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/statuses/418988933557387264">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

He also said that he believes that he has not been a weak PM. "That is for the historians to decide," he said.

11.25 am: 'Rahul Gandhi has all the credentials to be the next PM'

On asking about next PM candidate he said that if the UPA were to come back to power, 'Rahul Gandhi has all the credentials to be nominated as the next PM candidate.'

11.20 am: 'Will hand over the baton to another PM'

Amidst speculations, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ruled out third term as the PM and said that he would hand over the baton to another PM. "I am confident that the new generation of our leaders will also guide this nation successfully. I will hand over the baton to another PM after the General Elections. The party will announce the PM candidate at the right time and I hope that the PM is from UPA," he said.

On asking whether he felt that he should've resigned long back, Singh said that he never felt like resigning at any point of time. "I have always enjoyed my work and tried to fulfill my duties with complete honesty and dedication. I have never used my office to enrich my myself or my relatives," he said.

11.10 am: 'We have been unsuccessful in controlling inflation'

Singh said that the government had been unsuccessful in controlling inflation. "We have been unsuccessful in controlling inflation as much as we would have liked to," he said. However he did say that the country was set for better times.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet blockquote" lang="en"><p>PM: Let me say at the outset that I do believe we are set for better times. The cycle of global economic growth is turning for the better.</p>— Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) <a href="https://twitter.com/PMOIndia/statuses/418980278845976577">January 3, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

11.03 am: PM's press conference begins

Prime Minister's press conference begins. Singh began his speech by conveying his wishes for the new year.

"Economies have ups and downs and we should not overtly focus on short term," he said. Listing the achievements of the UPA government he said that India has become one of the world's largest producer of agricultural products. "Rural wages have increased. Rate of growth in the last 9 years is the highest in any 9 years period," he said.

Speaking of Congress' performance in the recent assembly elections Singh said that the party will reflect on the resultts of the assembly elections and will learn 'appropriate lessons.'

[Read full text of PM's speech]

Manmohan to list UPA's achievements

Manmohan Singh will be addressing a press conference shortly, listing the achievements of the UPA government. However speculations are rife that there may also be some announcement on his prime ministerial candidature. As many as 170 journalists are present at the venue.

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