Return of the wounded Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returns from his foreign trip. He will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi tomorrow.

The Prime Miinister has returned home. On board Air India One, PM Manmohan Singh answered all the anxious queries of the media person.

Speaking on the feud that was created between him and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi he said that he will talk to the young leader. “Well, I think, I have seen Rahul Gandhi’s statement. He has written to me on this subject also and let me say that when issues are raised in a democracy, in a democratic polity, right course is to start with and trying to understand what is it agitating the mind of the concerned people,” he added.

Denying that his position was undermined or discredited in any way by Rahul he said that he try to “find out the reasons” why he had protested “that way”. He further added that democracy was all about differences of viewpoints.

“I honestly feel that if there is an important point of view, any member of the Congress Party, any member of my cabinet is free to raise issues and require reconsideration of issues. I think that’s what a democracy is about. I don’t think we are an authoritarian structure in which one person lays down the line all the way and therefore my humble feeling is that when a point of view has been expressed, we must sit together and understand what is agitating the mind of the person who has raised these issue and that’s what we will do,” he said.

“Well I am not the master of what people say. It has happened and as I said when I go back I will try to find out the reasons why it had to be done that way and how do we handle it,” the prime minister said when asked whether Gandhi should have raised the issue of the ordinance when he was away.

He also ended all the speculations regarding his possible resignation due to Rahul Gandhi’s ridiculous act.

The prime minister said the ordinance was discussed twice by the cabinet and also by the Congress core group, the top decision-making body. “..I will also take my cabinet colleagues also into confidence. We will see which way the wind blows,” he said on whether the ordinance will be withdrawn by the cabinet. The cabinet is meeting Wednesday to discuss the ordinance.

The ordinance was seen to be a way of saving Congress leader Rasheed Masood and strong ally Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad ahead of their final court hearing in cases of corruption. Both have been convicted.

President Pranab Mukherjee had withheld his assent to the ordinance after the cabinet passed it Sep 24, a day before Manmohan Singh left for his five-day US visit, Mukherjee had summoned some union ministers over it.

On being asked whether he was upset by the public denunciation of the ordinance passed by the cabinet, he said: “I think, I have been used to ups and downs and I don’t get easily upset.”

On September 27, Rahul Gandhi In his rugged avatar as an angry young man, had showed his wish in front of the media regarding the ordinance negating Supreme Court’s judgement on immediate disqualification of lawmakers, in case of conviction, from contesting elections. “In my personal opinion, the ordinance should be torn and thrown away. It is an utter nonsense,” he had said.

Distancing himself from the government he said that he was not a part of the government and that the government was surely wrong in clearing the ordinance. He marked his differences with the government by saying that the explanation given by the government is weak. “They say that we have to do it because of political considerations. Everybody does this. We need to stop making these small compromises,” he said.

What looked like an innocent act by Rahul Gandhi showing his fallout from his own party’s government was considered to be a bigger ploy by UPA. The position of the Prime Minister was seen diminished big time.

The opposition BJP had defended prime minister at the time calling Rahul’s act dastardly. It had also demanded resignation of the PM saying he should immediately resign if he has any dignity left.

However, was also speculated that President Pranab Mukherjee actually saved Congress from what could have been a biggest blunder committed by it. Mukherjee leaves for his visit to Turkey on Wednesday. It was expected that PM will meet him before his departure.

As of now, the ploy which everybody saw from the naked eye, is becoming more apparent. Rahul needed to distance himself from the scam-ridden UPA for being projected as a youth leader who speaks his mind and has a clean image. The PM took the bullet for his ascendance. What we are looking at now is only collateral damage control.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what comes out of Singh-Rahul and later Singh-Mukherjee meeting.

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