Sunday morning, three days before he was to present his first Union budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley called on former PM Manmohan Singh on his way to meet in PM Narendra Modi.
While finance ministry sources called the meeting at Singh’s 3, Motilal Nehru Place residence a “mere courtesy call with no discussion on either the Indian economy or the budget”, this is the second recent occasion when Jaitley spent time with the ex-PM.
Jaitley as the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha would regularly target the Manmohan-led UPA government on economic mismanagement. But as FM, he has admired the former PM’s scholarship and called him a “wise man and a good finance minister” in a blog after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Before he became the finance minister, Jaitley met Singh on the sidelines of the May 22 swearing-in of former Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur as chief information commissioner. The outgoing PM had apparently expressed concern over India’s economy to Jaitley, who was sworn in as FM four days later.