"It is for Cabinet to decide"
New Delhi: Unfazed by protests against OBC quota, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh on Sunday rejected suggestions of a relook into reservation in elite educational institutions. He said it was up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide when to bring the matter before the Cabinet.
``This is entirely for the Cabinet to decide. As soon as the Prime Minister allows it come in the Cabinet, a decision will be taken," he told reporters when asked whether a bill in this regard would come up in the ongoing brief session of Parliament.
Mr. Singh dismissed as ``propaganda'' the attempts to project the anti-reservation agitation as ``Mandal II''. ``There is no Mandal II, III or IV. It is all propaganda to vitiate the whole atmosphere.'' He, however, said he was ready to talk to the agitating students.
Slams knowledge commission
Slamming the National Knowledge Commission headed by Sam Pitroda, he said: ``well, with all due respect to the great Knowledge Commission, I must point out to them that they are not above the Constitution.
``They do not need to speak to any of us. Let them decide and the country will follow them if they are above the Constitution. They do not know that there is a Parliament and there is a law passed by Parliament also. If they are unaware, then I can only pity them,'' he said.
On the observation of party leader Rahul Gandhi that both favouring and opposing the quota had ``valid points,'' he said a middle path could only be found in a calm and cool atmosphere and not when lathis were used by one side and slogans by the other.
Asked about the strategy he would adopt in the wake of the ongoing agitation, he said there was no strategy and what was needed was an understanding. ``If there is no understanding in society, no strategy works. The issue can be resolved through talks. If those who did not get anything, they have to be given something, which is to be decided'', he said.
The Minister parried several questions, saying he would give clarifications, if asked, in the Cabinet and Parliament. ``I cannot give anything outside''.
Mr. Singh rubbished the demand from a group of party MPs, led by Ajit Jogi, that Sonia Gandhi take over as Prime Minister in the wake of her recent massive win from Rae Bareli, and that Rahul Gandhi be given the reins of the party. He said he did not agree with it ``even a bit''.
Ms. Gandhi had nipped in the bud the demand, saying ``this talk is not proper. There should not be such talk in the party.'' PTI