As the Left parties step up their opposition to the Centre's policies, a senior minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet has said the government is "not afraid of anybody" and will do whatever is needed to complete its full term.
Responding to the nine-page "chargesheet" framed by the Left parties and their snipes against the Congress-led UPA government, Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said, "We are not afraid of anybody. We will carry on implementing the Common Minimum Programme."
In an interview to Karan Thapar's "Devil's Advocate" programme for CNN-IBN, Sibal said the government will debate with the Left and try to convince them. "...We will do whatever we can to try and run the government for five years. That's all," he added.
"We will do it honestly and we will do things for the people and have programmes for the people. And I am sure the programmes will reach the people. The Left has an ideology, the Left is not the Congress party, they are bound to criticise and they have the right to criticise," he said.
Rubbishing suggestions that Manmohan Singh must reinvent himself, Sibal said he was a "different kind of Prime Minister" who enjoyed the respect that perhaps very few leaders get in the international community.
Defending Singh against comments that he should "seize control of the government", Sibal said "I am sorry that this kind of criticism is being levelled against a Prime Minister who today enjoys the kind of respect that perhaps very few prime ministers enjoy in the international community."
He went on to suggest that it was only the media that was attacking the Prime Minister's image. "The figures show that the Prime Minister's image is only battered through the media. The facts show otherwise," he said.
Heaping praise on Singh, Sibal said, "He is a different kind of man. We all know that he is self-effacing, modest, honest (with) oodles of integrity and wants to do something for the common people of this country."
He also sought to dismiss the perception that HRD Minister Arjun Singh and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar had created their own agenda regarding reservations, rendering the Prime Minister silent and helpless.
"You are talking about little things that have happened. The education sector is not only about reservations," he said.
Asked about the longevity of the UPA government, Sibal said such questions should never be answered because any government could commit suicide but added he believed that this colaition would last 10 years.
"First of all such a question should never be answered for the simple reason the people of this country decide whether the Government will be in power or not.
"Any government can be brought down before five years. Any government can commit suicide before five years. Any government can last not just five years but 10 years. I believe the government is going to last 10 years," he said.