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After quota, Arjun trains guns on RSS

HRD Minister Arjun Singh is going all out to acquire a three-dimensional political image. After raising minority and OBC quota issues, he is keen to revive the secular-communal debate by ?exposing? the RSS with the help of ?civil society?.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 23:21 IST
Saroj Nagi

HRD Minister Arjun Singh is going all out to acquire a three-dimensional political image. After raising minority and OBC quota issues, he is keen to revive the secular-communal debate by “exposing” the RSS with the help of “civil society”.

Singh’s decision to address the media on Sunday was seen as intriguing as it came ahead of the PM completing two years in office and in the backdrop of a spate of controversies raised by Congress leaders, including the reservation controversy, fuelled further by S&T minister Kapil Sibal who has since made a clarification.

While Singh’s lips are “sealed” on the reservation issue till the polls get over, he has drawn the PM’s attention to the fact that “decorum” guiding Cabinet members wasn’t observed (by Sibal). “It is my duty to draw the PM’s attention to it and I did,” he said, without naming Sibal. Asked if he was hurt by his colleague’s reported remarks, Singh said he considered the issue “closed”. However, he did say ministers shouldn’t speak out of turn.

Coming in the wake of the controversies raised by Sibal, Natwar Singh and others speaking out of turn, Singh’s statement on the RSS may have been glossed over but for the impression that there’s a gameplan behind his every move. However, the veteran denied he was a “conspirator”, stating: “After 57 years in public life, you don’t believe in conspiracies. Only cowards do that.”

In this case, the context was the RSS’ 2004 petition alleging Singh had tarnished the Sangh’s name by accusing it of killing Mahatma Gandhi. What is equally significant is that the petition, which will shortly come up before the Jagadhri court, deals with his plea to the PM to cleanse the administration of RSS people.

There’s no mention of whether the PM has done so. But Singh — all set to pen his book A Grain of Sand in an Hour Glass of Time — sees as it as his “sacred task” to “thoroughly expose” the RSS cult of violence. Stating he’d prefer to face trial and not seek protection, he sought help from civil society to fight the RSS.

On Natwar’s reported remarks, Singh said the former minister hadn’t mentioned Nepal or the N-deal when they’d last met. Singh also dismissed Natwar’s reported remarks about Congress role in the Volcker controversy. “I am confident the Congress has not compromised…”

He dismissed queries about a widening of ideological faultlines within the Congress and his isolation in the party. While Sonia Gandhi would take effective steps to revive the party in the Hindi belt — a first admission by a minister — he said the PM was worried about price rise.

First Published: May 01, 2006 23:21 IST