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The Prime Minister as Politician

Manmohan Singh on Monday walked the tightrope on politically sensitive issues, including equations with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as well allies.

delhi Updated: May 25, 2010 01:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Manmohan Singh on Monday walked the tightrope on politically sensitive issues, including equations with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as well allies.https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTEditImages/Images/25_05_10_sidelights.jpg

The Prime Minister spiked reports of differences with Gandhi, saying: “She is the Congress president and I am a Congressman.”

The National Advisory Council Gandhi heads, he said, is not a “super cabinet” but an “advisory” body that has made “very effective contribution” in pushing social development schemes.

Singh said he has often asked Rahul to join his Cabinet but the Amethi MP is keen on “reviving the Congress”.

On his allies, Singh did the balancing act: He neither blamed nor defended Telecom Minister A. Raja (DMK) charged with corruption in the allotment of 2G spectrum. Leaving his take sufficiently ambiguous, he quoted Raja’s defence that he was following a policy that was formed in the NDA regime.

Singh ducked queries on whether face-offs with allies — Trinamool, RJD and DMK — would affect his government’s stability. He also sidestepped questions on Mamata Banerjee’s continued absence from Rail Bhavan and the spat between ministers. “It would not be proper for me to discuss these issues in broad public daylight,” he said.

Singh devoted considerable time to underscore his government’s commitment to SCs, STs, backward classes and minorities — something that would soothe the Congress president.

On making economic growth more inclusive, he said: “I do admit that lot more need to be done on this.” He assured that the Centre would work hard to create an atmosphere so that industry reserves jobs for the socially underprivileged.

First Published: May 25, 2010 01:21 IST