Jaitley, Ramesh’s banter in Rajya Sabha leaves others laughing

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and outgoing Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh of the Congress on Friday indulged in some light banter in the house.

Delivering his farewell speech as upper house member, Ramesh said: “We were taught to spin khadi by Mahatma Gandhi. But the leader of the house spins facts, and he is a master spinner of facts.”

As the house broke into laughter, Ramesh also related an anecdote about former Indian cricketer Vijay Merchant.

“As I leave, I am reminded of the famous words of cricketer Vijay Merchant. When he retired, he was asked, ‘Why are you going?’ And Merchant said, ‘It is better to go when people ask why is he going rather than why isn’t he going’,” Ramesh said.

When Jaitley’s turn to speak came, he said Ramesh was an old and dear friend. “I hope that a person of his calibre comes back to the house. But I would like to correct him here one last time.”

“It was Sunil Gavaskar who said these words (retirement quotes) and not Vijay Merchant,” Jaitley said, smiling.

“This is also a spin,” Ramesh interjected with a smile.

“I reckon that you (Ramesh) have a long inning to play. You will evolve further. I knew you when you were an economic liberal and I have seen your transformation into an economic conservative,” Jaitley said.