Onboard Air India One: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said attempts were being made to destabilise polity and accused the Opposition of getting ‘prematurely restless’ to force early elections. BJP takes offence to PM's remarks (Agencies)
He made it clear that his government will "stay the course" and complete its full five year term.
Addressing a press conference onboard special Air India Aircraft while returning from his visit to New York via Frankurt, Singh accused the Opposition of getting "prematurely restless" and asked them to be patient.
He said there was no dissension in his Cabinet in the context of the recent Finance Ministry note which suggested that P Chidambaram as the then Finance Minister had not done enough to ensure auction of 2G spectrum. Singh admitted that there could be a problem of perception about his government and there was a need to correct it.
"...I suspect there are other forces which want to destabilise our polity," he said when asked about an impression that the UPA-II government had lost the goodwill and momentum it had in its earlier 'avataar'.
Singh said in the UPA-I, there were newcomers and innovators as evidenced by the new flagship programmes they had brought. "Now as far as the approval of UPA-II is concerned, the issues the government is accused of indulging in -- 2G or something else -- the Opposition thinks, should have happened before elections," Singh said.
"I think it has failed. They lost the elections and till then we have had this assembly (elections). The Congress party has been successful," the Prime Minister said.
"Therefore, I suspect there are other forces which want to destabilise our country," Singh said. Singh said it was simply not about this crisis and that there were other issues that the government has to manage, like controlling inflation and "nothing should be done to weaken the fight".
Replying to a question about the Opposition, which appeared reasonable in the UPA-I, the Prime Minister said the Opposition is getting "prematurely restless".
"I have said this in Parliament that we have the mandate of the people to govern for five years and the Opposition should wait for two-and-a-half years.
"They have got some weak points of our government and think that (they) can force elections. This is not the way. This government has the mandate for five years. It will stay its course and we will do so," he said.
The Prime Minister said "once this happens, and if we look behind (after completing the term), we would have surprised (everyone).
To a question on "growing perception" that the Ministers were fighting among themselves in the context of the 2G note, he said there were no differences among Ministers.
"I think the ministerial fight you are talking about (in the media), I am not aware of such thing," he said.
"We are a cohesive government. We shall give cohesive governance. There is no room for dissensions in my Cabinet," Singh said.
Having said this, the Prime Minister added that in the Cabinet, there are always debates with "an open mind".
"The Ministers have a different perspective. That does not amount to lacking cohesiveness. It always helps in taking decisions. There is nothing of the sort that the media has been writing about for the last few days," he said about the reported differences between Mukherjee and Chidambaram.
Asked whether he would give a clean chit to Chidambaram, the Prime Minister said he enjoyed his full confidence.
He said he had read the Finance Ministry note (of March 25) which was being set out as a blueprint.
"All these matters are now before the courts. And it is not appropriate for me to make a comment. These are also property of the people (under RTI)," Singh said.
Replying to a question whether he was thinking of a reshuffle, he said if one (reshuffle) has to be made, the journalists would come to know.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Tuesday took offence to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's contention that the opposition was raking up P Chidambaram's name in the 2-G spectrum scam as it wanted early elections, and said it was akin to making a mockery of the whole issue.
"The Prime Minister's statement is deeply regrettable and unfortunate. While we are demanding a probe in the issue, he has said the opposition wants early polls. This is making a mockery of the whole issue," BJP Chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
A meeting of the BJP top brass was held at senior party leader L K Advani to discuss the issue.
Those present included Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, and senior leaders Gopinath Munde, S S Ahluwalia, Prasad and Haren Pathak.
Prasad also cast aspersions on the CBI, saying while it is not making a case against the Union Home Minister, it had questioned former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh in the case. Singh headed the GOM on Telecom during NDA rule.
BJP will come out with a structured response during a media interaction by Jaitley and Swaraj tomorrow to the Prime Minister's remarks.
On his way back home after his visit to New York, Singh told reporters on board that attempts were being made to "destabilise polity" and accused the Opposition of getting "prematurely restless" to "force" early elections.
Onboard Air India One: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said attempts were being made to destabilise polity and accused the Opposition of getting ‘prematurely restless’ to force early elections.
BJP takes offence to PM's remarks