My silence is better than a thousand answers: PM



New Delhi: Known for his preference for Urdu poetry, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday voiced his unhappiness over the BJP targeting him on coal blocks allocation saying his silence was better than a thousand answers.

Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament House after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) refused to let him make a statement in the Lok Sabha, the prime minister said: "Hazaaron jawabon se achchhi hai meri khamoshi, na jaane kitne sawaalon ki aabru rakhe. (My silence is better than a thousand answers. If I start answering then it will throw up several more questions which will beg answers)."

He added that in view of the BJP's "motivated attack against the government, this is one occasion I should be given to defend myself".

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, in a rejoinder at a press conference later, said there would have been "so many teekhe (pointed) questions" that the prime minister would have been robbed of his "aabru" (honour).

In March last year, the prime minister and the BJP leader had had a verse exchange in parliament during a debate on the US diplomatic cables revelations on the cash-votes-scam by WikiLeaks.

Sushma had thrown a poetry gauntlet at the prime minister in the house, saying: "Since you have great liking for Urdu and Urdu poetry, Manmohan Singh ji, let me recite a couplet today. 'Tu idhar udhar ki na baat kar, yeh bata ki qaafila kyon loota; hamein rahzanon se gila nahin, teri rehbari ka sawaal hai'. (Don't talk hearsay, tell us why the caravan was looted; we have no grouse against dacoits but it is a question of your leadership)."

Manmohan Singh, who is known for quoting Urdu poetry in his speeches with a special liking for 18th century poet Mirza Ghalib, had said though he was no match to the BJP leader he wanted to respond. He said: "Maana ki teri deed ke qaabil nahin hoon main; too mera shouq tou dekh, mera intezaar tou dekh. (I understand that I am not worthy of your gaze; but have a look at my keenness, have a look at my anticipation for you)."

IANS