Onboard, Air India One, Oct : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said he is looking forward to meeting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, and would try to understand the latter’s agitation over a cabinet-approved ordinance on convicted lawmakers.
Returning from the United States after a five-day visit via Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Singh further said there is no question of him resigning from office.
“I have seen Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s statement. He has written to me on this subject also, and, let me say, that when issues are raised in a democracy, in a democratic polity, the right course is to start with trying to understand what is agitating the minds of the concerned people. When I go back, I will discuss these matters with Mr. Rahul Gandhi. He has asked for a meeting with me, and, I will also take my Cabinet colleagues into confidence. We will see which way the wind blows,” Dr. Singh said onboard Air India One.
When specifically asked to respond to the opposition’s demand that he should have resigned from office immediately after Gandhi’s criticism of the ordinance while he was abroad, Dr. Singh said: “Well, there is no question of resigning. I said I will put all these issues before my Cabinet colleagues. These are all matters which are discussed before the highest body, the core group of the Congress Party. The Cabinet discussed this matter twice, not once. But, it is always possible to change one’s mind, and, I will consult my colleagues on all these issues,” he added.
Dr. Singh mildly reprimanded the Congress number two for the way in which he went about voicing his public disapproval of the ordinance.
“Well, I am not the master of what people say. It has happened, and, as I said, when I go back, I will try to find out the reasons why it had to be done that way, and, how do we handle it,” he said.
“I honestly feel that if there is an important point of view, any member of the Congress Party, any member of my Cabinet is free to raise issues and require reconsideration of issues. I think that’s what a democracy is about. I don’t think we are an authoritarian structure in which one person lays down the line all the way and therefore my humble feeling is that when a point of view has been expressed, we must sit together and understand what is agitating the mind of the person who has raised these issue and that’s what we will do,” he added.
According to media reports, the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi are scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee in the national capital tomorrow (Oct er 2), on the issue, as the latter has to decide whether to give it his assent, or send it back to the government for reconsideration.
On September 27, in a major embarrassment to the ruling UPA, Rahul Gandhi dubbed the ordinance to negate the Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers as ‘complete nonsense’, and said it should be torn up and thrown away.
“I personally think what the government is doing on the ordinance is wrong. It was a political decision, every party does it, and there is a time to stop this nonsense,” Gandhi had said in New Delhi. (ANI)