On Board Prime Minister's Special Aircraft: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today ruled out his resignation in the wake of Rahul Gandhi's carping attack on his government on the issue of ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers.
“There is no no question of resigning,” he told reporters asserting that he does not get “upset easily”.
The Prime Minister ruling out resignation comes in the wake of demands and taunts from opposition parties that the attack by Rahul Gandhi on the government that the ordinance was “complete nonsense” and should be “torn up and thrown away” amounted to an insult of him and undermining his authority, especially when he was on a foreign visit.
Singh said he would try to find out the reason why Rahul Gandhi made a public statement and “why it had to be that way”.
“I am not the master of what people say. It has happened and as I said when I go back I will try to find the reason why it happened that way and how do we handle it,” he said.
Speaking to journalists on way back home from Frankfurt, The Prime Minister said he would discuss the issue with Gandhi and that “it is always possible to change one's mind”.
He will also “take into confidence” his Cabinet colleagues on the matter.
Singh pointed out that the Ordinance, that is intended to protect convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification, was discussed at the highest levels, including twice by the Cabinet as also the Congress Core group.
He referred to his earlier statement and noted, “I said I will put all these issues before my Cabinet colleagues. These are all matters which were discussed before the highest body, the core group of the Congress party. The Cabinet discussed this matter twice, not once.”
“I have been used to ups and downs,” said the Prime Minister in a composed manner while talking about the controversy that overshadowed part of his seven-day visit. Answering questions by journalists on the controversy, he said he takes everything in his stride and “I don't get upset easily, even when you ask”.
Gandhi publicly rubbished the Ordinance on September 27, a few hours before Singh was to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington.
“Well, I think, I have seen Mr Rahul Gandhi's statement. He has written to me on this subject also and let me say that when issues are raised in a democracy, in a democratic polity, the right course is to start with and trying to understand what is agitating the mind of the concerned people,” Singh said.
“When I go back, I will discuss these matters with Mr Rahul Gandhi. He has asked for a meeting with me and I will also take my Cabinet colleagues into confidence. We will see which way the wind blows,” he added.
Singh was asked whether one individual, no matter how senior he may be in the party, should have the space to undermine the decisions taken by the Cabinet and Core Group and whether his authority has been undermined.
“No, I don't feel that way. I honestly feel that if there is an important point of view, any member of the Congress party, any member of my Cabinet is free to raise issues and require reconsideration of issues. I think that's what democracy is about,” he replied.
“I don't think we are an authoritarian structure in which one person lays down the line all the way and therefore my humble feeling is that when a point of view has been expressed, we must sit together and understand what is agitating the mind of the person who has raised these issue and that's what we will do,” he added.
The Ordinance was approved by the Cabinet on September 24, a day before the Prime Minister left on his US tour. The decision has generated a huge controversy and President Pranab Mukherjee has refused to sign it.
After Gandhi's public outburst, opposition has been saying that the Prime Minister's authority has been undermined and he should resign.