Says there is no dearth of leadership in Congress
Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari on Tuesday rubbished reports suggesting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would soon resign.
Electronic media was agog with speculative reports saying that Dr. Singh could give indications about his future on Friday when he is scheduled to address a news conference here.
The speculations were triggered by a report in a section of the media which claimed there is debate within the Congress on possibility of the Prime Minister stepping down soon.
At a news conference here, Mr. Tewari asserted that those predicting the end of the Congress after the recent Assembly elections were forgetting that the party had won 12 of the 29 Assembly polls held in the past five years. The news conference was held to mark the launch of the official calendar for 2014 but it was overshadowed by political questions.
Asked if reports about Dr. Singh’s imminent resignation were true, Mr. Tewari quipped: “I know today is the 31st of December and there is a paucity of news, but this does not mean that baseless stories should be circulated on a lean day. There is a need for responsible journalism... Now when the Prime Minister has announced that he will address the media, this kind of unnecessary speculation is uncalled for.’’
Asked if Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi would be declared prime ministerial candidate at the January 17 session of the All India Congress Committee, Mr. Tewari said the party president Sonia Gandhi made it clear that a decision would be taken at the ‘opportune’ moment. Further, he said, the Congress did not have a dearth of leadership. “There is the Prime Minister, the Congress president and Mr. Gandhi; we have a triumvirate.’’
“Don’t write us off”
With leading references by media personnel to the United Progressive Alliance being on its last legs and the January 3 media interaction Dr. Singh’s last, Mr. Tewari sought to counter the epitaphs being written for the Congress. “People seem to be over-awed by the Assembly election results. Yes, for us as a party and government they have been disappointing. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies won nine, and others eight. We are more than ready to go to the polls on the strength of our work.’’
In fact, the calendar seeks to showcase the work done by the UPA in both its stints. According to Mr. Tewari, the calendar – brought out by the Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity – attempts to tell the story of India’s transformation while maintaining social cohesion and communal harmony over the past decade.