Younger people should take over: PM Manmohan Singh
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Younger people should take over: PM Manmohan Singh

Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 09:47 Hrs   |    1 Comments
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New Delhi: Dismissing talk that he is a "lameduck" Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said he has been entrusted with the job by the Congress party from which he has not heard "any contrary view".

Terming the perception that his government had gone "comatose" and was "lameduck" as clever propaganda of the Opposition "to which some sections of the media had lent ear", Singh asserted that "truth will prevail" and his performance will speak.

Singh spoke of "maximum possible cooperation" that he was getting from Congress President Sonia Gandhi whom he met one-on-one every week. He had never felt that she was an "obstacle".

During a 100-minute interaction with five editors at his official residence, a relaxed Prime Minister confidently fielded questions on a wide range of issues including the talk that Rahul Gandhi should take his place, the Lokpal Bill, corruption and relations with neighbouring countries.

Sonia Gandhi had done a "superb job" as Congress President for nearly 15 years now, he underlined.

Asked about occasional statements from party functionaries that Rahul Gandhi should become Prime Minister, Singh said that the Congress Party and its President had entrusted him with this job and he had not heard any contrary view from the Congress high command.

"In fact, the Congress high command has always been most supportive, particularly Mrs Gandhi," the Prime Minister said.

He went on to add, "Personally, if you ask me, the general proposition that younger people should take over, I think, is the right sentiment". Whenever the party "makes up its mind I will be very happy to step down, but so long as I am here I have a job to do".

To a question about a possible reshuffle of his Cabinet, the Prime Minister said it was a "work in progress".

Asked if it could take place soon, Singh replied, "I cannot predict."

About Lokpal Bill, he said it was essential and desirable. The country needed a strong Lokpal although it is not not a "panacea".

He told the editors that he would try to find a way on the Lokpal issue and work for a national consensus. The government would reach out to the civil society but no group can insist that their views "A to Z" are the last word.

As for bringing the office of the Prime Minister under the purview of the Lokpal, the Prime Minister said that he has no hesitation in bringing himself under it.

However, many of his Cabinet colleagues were of the view that bringing the institution of the Prime Minister under Lokpal would create "an element of instability which can go out of hand".

In any case, the Prime Minister is covered by the anti-corruption act and is a 24-hour servant of the people, he said pointing out that a person holding that office can be removed by Parliamen
Source: PTI
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