External affairs minister Salman Khurshid has said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is “the boss” but he has conducted himself with “utmost dignity and care” in view of the constitutional position of the prime minister.
“If we have faith in what he (Rahul) thinks is the right public policy direction, why should we not accept it,” Salman Khurshid told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s advocate programme aired on Sunday.
Asked if Rahul had made a mockery of the Cabinet and its powers to take decisions with his interventions, Khurshid said, “He (Rahul) has some very good suggestions and we have to take those suggestions on board. He does not direct the cabinet to function in a certain way.”
The Prime Minister, he said, was the leader of the government and there were a Congress president and vice-president.
Regarding the government’s attempts to pass a series of ordinances ahead of the elections, Salman Khurshid said the ordinances were cleared by the Cabinet with a sense of urgency but the Centre had “bowed” to the wishes of the President.
Despite the National Commission for Backward Classes rejecting the proposal to extend OBC reservations to the Jat community, the minister justified the decision, saying the Centre had tried to correct “irrationality” in reservations.
Nobody had questioned reservations for Jats in many states for several years, he said. “Someone gets reservation in Uttar Pradesh but not in the Centre. We tried to correct that.”
On the charge that the 7th Pay Commission was set up to win votes, he said the government had the right “to be able to judge public perception.”
The 7th Pay Commission has been set up after eight years, compared to all previous pay panels that were set up after a gap of 11 to 13 years.
On calling BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi “napunsak” (impotent) recently, he said politicians had used that word in different contexts in the past.
Rahul Gandhi had earlier said he did not appreciate such language. Salman Khurshid said he “appreciates” what Rahul said.