Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh feels that he is fighting a “lonely” battle in the government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is his only supporter in the Cabinet.
Asked at an interaction with journalists on Wednesday on who were his friends, Mr. Ramesh said he had “zero” friends. “I have no friends, only the Prime Minister supports me in the Cabinet.”
“At times I feel I am fighting a lonely battle. The odds are so stacked up against anybody saying or doing the right and rational thing as far as environment and forests are concerned,” Mr. Ramesh, who has faced opposition from his colleagues on the moratorium on Bt Brinjal, said.
The Minister said nobody in the current UPA was willing to take a stand on issues related to environment and forests except the UPA chairperson.
“We have to take a stand. We cannot dilly-dally. On Bt Brinjal I could have also not taken a decision,” he said.
Asserting that the moratorium on Bt Brinjal was a “political” decision, he said, “May history record that I took a decision.”
Observing that there was a “disconnect” on issues relating to environment, he said, the feeling stems from the fact that “we don’t feel passionately about the environment.”
Mr. Ramesh said he had consulted the Prime Minister on the Bt Brinjal issue but did not have a discussion with Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“But reliable sources tell me that the party has supported me. I have not spoken about this to the high command,” he added.