Special Correspondent

Terms Varun Gandhi’s arrest under NSA “unfortunate”

NEW DELHI: Congress leader and Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh on Saturday said he was unhappy over the denial of ticket to his son and daughter.

He also described as “unfortunate,” Varun Gandhi’s detention under the National Security Act (NSA).

He was responding to questions during a press conference here.

On his daughter contesting the Sidhi Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh as an independent candidate, the Minister said he would campaign against her. However, he made it clear that he was not happy over denial of ticket to his daughter and son.

His daughter Veena Singh sought nomination from Sidhi and son Ajeya Singh from Satna. “If I say I am not unhappy, then it will not be true.” He, however, added that the allocation of ticket was the prerogative of the high command.

“I will campaign for Congress nominees in both Satna and Sidhi,” he said.

Sidhi and Satna are considered Mr. Singh’s strongholds.

Mr. Singh said the Congress should not be averse to taking the support of Left parties after the Lok Sabha polls but insisted that Manmohan Singh would be the Prime Minister.

“After the elections are over, it is my personal opinion, we should not be averse to having the Left with us,” he said. Under the circumstances, Dr. Singh becoming the Prime Minister is “more justified and desirable.” He [Manmohan Singh] has come out “quite well” in spite of health problems, he added.

To a question on whether the party should not project a young leader for prime ministership, Mr. Singh recalled that when he had said so, he was dubbed a sycophant. Later everyone started saying the same thing, he added.

“Rahul himself said that at the moment he was not prepared. You should not dismiss the honest evaluation of an individual,” he said. Praising Mr. Gandhi for his gesture, he said some people “die even for small posts.”

Mr. Singh said there used to be a debate in the party on ideological issues to throw up a spontaneous choice for the prime minister’s post.

He, however, said that he would accept whatever responsibility Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assigned him after the Lok Sabha elections.

Seeking to dismiss suggestions that the United Progressive Alliance was disintegrating, he said the allies stepped out one after another and now they feel they cannot go anywhere. Asked whether he was being ignored by the party, Mr. Singh said there was no reason to say so.