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Updated: June 30, 2011 02:25 IST

“I am not a ‘lame-duck’ Prime Minister”

Special Correspondent
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So long as I am here I have a job to do, says Manmohan

At his interaction with some editors here on Wednesday, Manmohan Singh characterised the perception that he is a “lame- duck” Prime Minister running a “comatose” government as a “clever propaganda” of the Opposition to which some sections of the media had lent an ear. “I am not helpless. All the bad things that this government has done, I accept full responsibility.”

As for voices from senior Congress functionaries that the time had come for Rahul Gandhi to take over as Prime Minister, Dr. Singh maintained that the Congress president and the party had entrusted him with the job, and he had not heard any “contrarian view.”

However, he went on to add, “Personally, if you ask me, the general proposition that younger people should take over … is the right sentiment.” Whenever the party “makes up its mind I will be very happy to step down, but so long as I am here I have a job to do.”

“Congress high command supportive”

Dr. Singh told the editors that he got the “maximum possible cooperation” from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, whom he meets one-on-one every week. He had never felt that she was an obstacle to things his government wanted to do. “In fact, the Congress high command has always been most supportive, particularly Mrs. Gandhi.”

Answering a question on the much anticipated reshuffle of his Cabinet, the Prime Minister said it was a “work in progress.” Asked whether it could take place soon, Dr. Singh replied: “I cannot predict.”

On the Lokpal issue, Dr. Singh maintained that his government was committed to introducing a Bill in the winter session of Parliament even before it engaged a section of civil society on this matter. While it would continue to engage civil society in framing the legislation, no group could insist that their views “A to Z” were the last word.

“Lokpal not a panacea”

Dr. Singh insisted that while the Lokpal was essential and desirable, it was not a “panacea.” Asked about the debate on whether or not the Prime Minister should be under the purview of the Lokpal, he said: “I, for one, have no hesitation in bringing myself under the purview of the Lokpal,” but added that many of his Cabinet colleagues felt that such a move would create “an element of instability which can go out of hand.”

Ruling out the inclusion of the higher judiciary in the ambit of the Lokpal, Dr. Singh told the editors that his government would work for a national consensus.

Dr. Singh told the editors: “We can deal with corruption, we can deal with black money, but quite frankly it is wrong for anyone to assume there is a magic wand which will lead to an instant solution to of these difficult societal problems.

“We need system reforms. If the project Nandan Nilankani has promised to design, if the UIDAI can give unique ID numbers to all our residents, we would have discovered a new pathway to eliminate the scope for corruption and leakages in the management and distribution of various subsidies to which our people are entitled. But it will take time. It cannot be done instantly.”

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A piece of erudition unlike any other!

from:  Melloney
Posted on: Oct 31, 2011 at 17:02 IST

We can accept post facto concept only on war time decisions and not on commercial decisions which had interministerial differences.He slept or feigned ignorance to cover up his unwillingness to stop a scam. Knowing his capabilities one cannot accept these scams that happened did so without his agreeing to sleep when somebody had informed that a robbery is planned.

from:  N Kumar
Posted on: Jul 1, 2011 at 03:44 IST

Dear PM: Sir, last time we checked, the word that describes one whose successor is chosen, who does not run the risk of getting reelected (you have never had that risk anytime), whose words his/her own colleagues care least for, was 'lame duck'. You always take pride in saying that you serve at the mercy of your party president and party - never for the people! You know how we see your "I have no hesitation... "I actually don't care; anyway, I am under the purview of everyone in the party, if it is one more purview (Lokpal), bring it on!". Of what use is your personal thought, if at your level, it does not impact your own colleagues and bring about a change? Accepting responsibility for corruption is not sufficient. Are you able to wipe out the shame that it causes (to us)? No. What are we supposed to do with your 'accepting responsibility'? We only like results, not prepared lectures. Your response confirmed nothing but the perception we already had.

from:  Venkatakrishnan Krishnamoorthy
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 21:52 IST

Dr. Manmohan Singh is a bureaucrat, not a leader. For people who don't know the subtle difference between the two, the former executes orders and covers his skin by being ambivalent on all decisions under the guise of being colloborative whereas the latter needs some inspirational qualities to put his convictions/principles to work to make executive decisions and then explain the same to his people and shape their thinking when the nation needs him. You can find lots of 'honest' men in India but not leaders. So this whole notion of just being 'honest' does'nt qualify one to lead this great nation.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 17:37 IST

Perhaps, it's wise of Dr. Manmohan Singh to not speak to the public (however indirectly) because every time he does speak, the ridiculous inconsistencies he comes up further diminish the public opinion of him.
Consider these: 1) On 2G spectrum, he claims he is not an expert and, in any case, wants to give his ministers freedom; therefore, he couldn't do much beyond suggesting complete transparency to A. Raja. Yet, in the same breath, he says he arm-twisted Jairam Ramesh to reverse his decisions on coal mines. Looks like our PM has a very flexible code of conduct for himself.
2) He claims he is not a lameduck PM and yet he can't convince his own ministers as to why the PM should be covered by Lokpal. His claim seems to be: I'm clean and I have no problem being subject to Lokpal. I don't think that's the right basis for that decision.
3) He calls 2G and CWG scams 'difficult societal problems'! Dear PM, these are not societal problems. These are corrupt government problems!

from:  K Palaka
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 12:16 IST

A perfect tete-a-tete with the Press.India working under a different path of a Political System - Unlike China - it would take some time before we reach that state of growth. But to be sustainable we have to go by an incremental push - not a wholesale change push for growth. A country of our size can hardly attempt it without jeopardizing the societal fabric. Yet, at the same time in areas where qucik decision have to be taken, implemented and overseen in Projects like infrastructure growth & other Industrial Development Activities, we would never be able to catch up with the objective of leveraging our demographic dividend, if we don't hasten our stride. In our democratic polity, all sections have to be carried along as we progress ahead.

from:  R. Santhanagopalan
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 12:10 IST

When it is an eager demand from all citizens of India to have a LOKPAL to then why there is delay and what is the hitch either by ruling party or it's supporters once you are enjoying there only due to vote offered you by the public. So, if you are honest or true son of India - please vote for LOKPAL

from:  Gajraj
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 11:24 IST

The Prime Minister says that for all the 'bad things' that his government has done, he accepts full responsibility. Since what A.Raja is accused of having done in regard to the 2G spectrum allocation while he was a minister in his government is believed to be a 'bad thing' (Mr.Raja is in judicial custody on account of that) the PM should take full responsibility for all the bad things that the said minister in his government has done and resign from office.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 10:21 IST

Dr.Singh is still not able to grasp that the nation entrusted him with the job of the Prime Minister and supported him in that role till his inept handling of various issues were made public. Yet in his opinion the pecking order is the Congress President, the Party and the nation (people). His comment that 'Post Facto' a lot of dirt is thrown at the Government is not acceptable. If the exchequer looses money due to the ineffeciency of the administration, it is unpardonable. And if the loss is due to the combination of corruption and inefeciency, it should be treated as Capital offence. Dr.Singh's defence of his government on the corruption front is pathetic. People expected a lot from the clean, educated and humble Dr.Singh. The dirt of people around him has made him unclean, his education has not been of use to the country and his humility has been monopolised by the First family.

from:  Mani Sandilya
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 07:38 IST

So basically Mr Singh, you will not do anything.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 06:55 IST

There is one point we must examine. .Would all these scams occur , or at least so blatantly and in such massive scale, were it not for the fact that the people in high office who were involved, had the smug confidence that the laws of the land shielded them from prosecution? ( Eg: The Single Directive ). That being the case we have to ask why these laws were not amended, reviewed or even repealed by Mr Singh's government. That is the million dollar question here. The answer lies therein about whether corruption has been institutionalized or legalized.

from:  Rakesh
Posted on: Jun 30, 2011 at 05:46 IST
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