Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday dismissed the view that the Bharatiya Janata Party had got off to a strong start ahead of next year’s general election making the Congress look weak in comparison. “I think the BJP may have started early but I think it will peak early,” he said adding that the Congress was active too.
“Slow and steady, I think, is the thing which sometimes works in public life as well, and I am confident that the Congress will come out victorious in 2014,” he said in an interaction with a journalists team on his plane.
The Prime Minister was also dismissive of the suggestion that an unending series of scams had affected the credibility of the Congress, and that this had contributed to the popularity of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
He argued that scams such as 2G and CWG dated back to the UPA’s first term and that the Congress had won an election since then. “And I’m sure when the results of 2014 are known, the country will once again be surprised,” he said.
“All sane persons should be concerned about the politics of hate which is sweeping the country,” an apparent reference to the recent incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. Singh was responding to a question on whether the government had information about threats to the life of Rahul Gandhi, who had said hatred had killed his grandmother and his father, and it may kill him too, but he did not care. The government would take all precautions to ensure that Mr. Gandhi would come to no harm.
Only on the question of Pakistan did Dr. Singh come close to admitting failure, saying he was “disappointed” that his meeting with Mr. Sharif had not yielded a positive result.
“I am disappointed because in the New York meeting [with Mr. Sharif on September 29], there was a general agreement on both sides that peace and tranquillity should be maintained on the LoC as well as on the international border.”
Dr. Singh said he and Mr. Sharif agreed at that meeting that if the ceasefire, which had held for 10 years, could be made to hold for much longer too. “That fact that this has not happened is something which really is a matter of disappointment. I sincerely hope that even at this late hour, Mr. Sharif will recognise that this is a development that is not good for either of the two countries.”