‘Current dissension within NDA over Prime Ministerial candidate is futile’
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday said the former Lok Sabha Speaker, P.A. Sangma's resignation from the Nationalist Congress Party seemed to have been guided by his anxiety to avoid his expulsion from the party after it refused to back his candidature for the President.
Talking to journalists here, Mr. Azad said Mr. Sangma’s decision was “his own choice.” He refused to make any speculation if the National Democratic Alliance was behind Mr. Sagma’s move. “I cannot say anything about the NDA’s strategy,” he said.
Asked about the dissension within the NDA over its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections, Mr. Azad said it was a “futile exercise” being resorted to by the NDA constituents: “The United Progressive Alliance is going to complete its full term and get re-elected in the next elections.”
“There is no vacancy for the Prime Minister till 2014,” said Mr. Azad, when asked about the conflicting stands being taken in the NDA on bringing in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the centre stage. Leaders of the Janata Dal (United), the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have been issuing differing statements over the past few days.
Mr. Azad, accompanied by Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy, briefed journalists on the UPA government’s achievements on its completion of three years in office.
“There is a perfect understanding between the UPA chairperson and the Prime Minister for carrying forward the programmes and policies. Repeated attacks by certain elements on the government are unwarranted,” said Mr. Azad. Both Mr. Azad and Mr. Narayanasamy are members of a Group of Ministers assigned with the task of publicising the government's achievements at State capitals.
Mr. Narayanasamy said the 6.9-per-cent GDP growth rate achieved in 2011-12 was an “uphill task” that was attained as a result of concerted action to revive the economy. The nation performed well in agricultural production and power generation in the previous financial year with the combined output of pulses, food grains and edible oil estimated at 248 million metric tonnes and 20,502 MW power added from all sources.
Both the Ministers said India, at present, was the “fastest-developing country” in the world, with rapid strides being made in all sectors. Low credit ratings and price rise being cited as the problems faced by the Indian economy did not represent the true picture, said Mr. Azad.
Transparency in governance had helped uncover the instances of corruption, for which senior politicians went to jail and Chief Ministers in several States had to be changed. “All this proves that the Union government upholds the rule of law and values probity in public life.”