Sonia personally approved the ‘I am not a lame duck PM’ remark
New Delhi/Chennai: The Congress party today aggressively played down the suggestions that there was a growing friction between the Congress high command and the Prime Minister’s Office.
Highly placed Congress sources said here today that Sonia Gandhi herself personally approved the ‘I am not a lame duck Prime Minister’ remark by Manmohan Singh during his meeting with five newspaper Editors last week.
‘He had the fullest backing of Sonia to say that. In fact, No: 10, Janpath, cleared each and every individual word that Manmohan spoke spontaneously,’ the sources pointed out.
‘Manmohan enjoys the highest confidence of Sonia that he will not do anything on his own. Manmohan, for his part, knows that he has the total liberty to be bounden to Sonia Gandhi at any cost,’ the Congress sources said and added: ‘Those who think that all is not hunky-dory between the party and the government are living in fool’s paradise. Manmohan will never commit the treacherous act of thinking on his own’.
‘The Congress will never undermine the high office of the Prime Minister. The Congress feels that the Prime Minister himself is doing a good job of it,’ the sources asserted.
Meanwhile, close on the heels of the Prime Minister meeting five Editors of news publications, there has been a suggestion that the Ministers too start having regular closed-door meetings with top five people from diverse fields.
One Senior Minister is said to have set the ball rolling by saying, ‘we must reach out to the various sections of the society. For instance, one of us can meet top 5 advocates in the country. Another can have a meeting with top 5 doctors. And personally, I don’t mind meeting top 5 actresses individually for some closed-door interactions. There must be a healthy exchange’.
Elsewhere, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari pooh-poohed the demand for the resignation of Dayanidhi Maran by the various opposition parties in the light of more revelations on the 2G scam and on the Aircel matter.
‘How can the country’s Textiles Minister resign for an alleged scam in the Telecom Ministry?’ he asked sarcastically.
When reporters tried to suggest that Maran was the Telecom Minister when the scam is reported to have happened, Tewari interjected by saying: ‘allow me to point out that Maran had already once quit his Telecom Minister’s post. Technically it might have been for a different reason, but the fact of the matter is that he had resigned. You cannot hang a man twice, can you?’
The Opposition is morally obliged to wait for a major scandal to break out in the Textile Ministry to seek Dayanidhi Maran’s resignation. ‘But if he were in a different Ministry by then (remember a Cabinet reshuffle is expected shortly) the Opposition will have no case,’ he asserted.
Stating that the Textiles Minister resigning for a scandal in Telecom Ministry may lead to major administrational complications, Tewari pointed out there was no provision in the Constitution for such cross Ministerial-transgressions.
‘Article 16 of the Constitution, which talks of equality, does not say Telecom and Textiles are the same. Those seeking Maran’s resignation today are harming the spirit of Ambedkar’.
Tewari also wondered whether the CBI was right in openly telling the Supreme Court the progress in the 2G case investigations. ‘The case is already being heard by a special court. Hence the matter, per se, is sub-judice. So to discuss openly such an issue at the Supreme Court is to commit breach of rules laid by the Supreme Court,’ Tewari said.
Elsewhere in Chennai, sources close to Maran said that the under-fire Minister was reluctant to resign from his post because there was no mention of it in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) agreed upon by the various UPA constituents.
‘The UPA’s course is chartered by the bible of CMP. In it nowhere it’s mentioned that Maran should resign,’ sources close to the beleaguered Minister said. ‘He does not want to create a ticklish situation to the other allies in the UPA by attempting something that is not sanctioned in the CMP’.
It is also learnt that if Maran is forced to resign as the Textile Minister, the DMK may pitch for him to be included in the Cabinet as the Telecom Minister. ‘If his resignation as the Textile Minister for a scandal in the Telecom Ministry is right, then it is also right that he be compensated with the Telecom Ministry for his loss of the Textile Ministry,’ the DMK reasoned.
(Disclaimer: We hope that this is spoof)