Manmohan Singh asked me if he should quit post Rahul Gandhi ordinance row: Montek Singh Ahluwalia

I thought resignation was not correct, says Ahluwalia

After the Rahul Gandhi ordinance-trashing episode of 2013, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Montek Singh Ahluwalia whether he thought he should resign, the former Deputy Chairman of the now-defunct Planning Commission said.

Mr. Ahluwalia said he told Dr. Singh, who was then on a visit to the U.S., that he did not think a resignation on this issue was appropriate.

Mr. Gandhi had denounced the ordinance brought by the UPA dispensation to negate a Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers. He had termed it as “complete nonsense” that should be “torn up and thrown away.” Dr. Singh, while returning home, had ruled out his resignation though he appeared piqued over the entire episode.

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“I was part of the Prime Minister’s delegation in New York and my brother Sanjeev, who had retired from the IAS, telephoned to say he had written a piece that was very critical of Dr. Singh. He had emailed it to me and said he hoped I didn’t find it embarrassing,” recalled Mr. Ahluwalia.

The article was widely reported in the media with reference to the author being Mr. Ahluwalia’s brother.


“The first thing I did was to take the text across to the Prime Minister’s suite because I wanted him to hear about it first from me. He read it in silence and, at first, made no comment. Then, he suddenly asked me whether I thought he should resign,” Mr. Ahluwalia writes in his new book “Backstage: The Story behind India’s High Growth Years.”

“I thought about it for a while and said I did not think a resignation was appropriate. I wondered then, whether I was simply saying what I thought he would like to hear but on reflection I am convinced I gave him honest advice,” he reasoned.

“Most of my friends agreed with Sanjeev. They felt the Dr. Singh had for too long accepted the constraints under which he had to operate and this had tarnished his reputation. The rubbishing of the ordinance was seen as demeaning the office of the Prime Minister and justified resigning on principle. I did not agree,” Mr. Ahluwalia wrote.


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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:20:27 AM |

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