Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give her version of the Ram Setu controversy stemming from the filing of an affidavit questioning Lord Ram’s existence, even as the Congress sought to put behind it the unsavoury episode of party leaders seeking or opposing her resignation by telling them not to air their views in public.
The affidavit, which did not carry the amendments that Soni made on the draft of the text, was later withdrawn from the Supreme Court in a reflection of the party and government’s “sensitivity” on matters of personal belief and faith. “The matter should be treated as closed,’’ Janardan Dwivedi of the media department said while referring to the issue. In a written statement, he issued a terse message to those speaking out of turn — whether for or against Soni’s resignation. “Airing such views in public generates unnecessary and avoidable confusion,” he said. He added that the Congress provided ample intra-party scope to articulate views, which are “listened to, absorbed and where necessary, acted upon.’’ He stressed that maintenance of discipline in party and government is of “utmost importance”.
After her 45-minute meeting with Singh, Soni told reporters: “I have explained to the Prime
Minister the course of events. I have submitted all the papers. He heard me patiently. I am satisfied with the meeting, ’’ she said to a flurry of questions, including whether the PM was satisfied with her explanation.
Was she “hurt” by the attack on her by colleagues? “There is nothing like being hurt in politics. You learn as you go along. It is difficult to work honestly and work according to conviction. There are many factors to be taken into consideration and I am learning,” said Soni, who is known to be a fighter.