Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday singled out the animosity between his government and an obstructionist opposition which has stalled essential business in Parliament as his biggest regret so far in his long stint as PM.
Speaking on his way back from Japan and Thailand,Singh firmly denied talk about a rift between him and Sonia Gandhi,asserting that there was no truth in this perception.
He also indicated that he was keeping an open mind about future alliances,be it the Left or the Trinamool,saying there are no permanent allies or permanent enemies in politics.
Singh the politician was in full force Friday as he chose his words carefully,sidestepped direct questions on his own future,evaded issues where the party was still to form its view and slammed the opposition for all that his government could not achieve.
Asked specifically about his greatest regrets through these years as PM even as the UPA has been showcasing its achievements,Singh said: I think there has been a great sense of continuity between UPA-1 and UPA-2. But it is unfortunately a fact that the opposition has become more impatient than ever before. They never expected that we would win the election for UPA-1. But they were doubly disappointed when we won the election for UPA-2. Therefore,the obstructionist role of the opposition has increased enormously in recent years. It is my great regret that some very essential business of the house has not been transacted because of these animosities between the opposition and the government.
Singh again categorically rejected the perception that there are differences between him and Sonia Gandhi. But he sidestepped a question on whether she had nudged him to get previous Law Minister Ashwani Kumar to quit.
I can say in all truthfulness that there is no difference of opinion between me and the Congress president. We work together on almost every issue where consultation is needed,I consult the Congress president. And,therefore,this perception that on certain issues there were differences of opinion,there is no truth in that, asserted Singh.
He was,however,mindful not to tread into party territory on sensitive issues,as he alluded to the primacy of the Congress high command on issues like whether or not to help the DMK secure a Rajya Sabha seat. I cant say on behalf of the Congress high command. These are matters which are discussed at the highest level in our party,and it would not be proper for me to pre-judge what stand the Congress party will take, he said.
Similarly,on the question of extending Presidents rule in Jharkhand where the Congress has been exploring the possibility of forming a government,Singh said: This matter is under consideration. He also said filling up vacancies in the Cabinet is being considered.
With political parties hedging their preferences ahead of the 2014 elections in a bid to allow themselves enough flexibility in the post-poll scenario,Singh made it known that he has no problems in joining hands with either the Left or the Trinamool – the two parties which deserted his coalition in the first and second term respectively.
In politics,there are no permanent allies and no permanent enemies. These possibilities of some people coming in,some people going out,I think,have to be accepted as they are, Singh said.
Singh was his evasive best when asked if he would accept the PMs job since he has been re-elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam for another six years. He confined his reply only to his association with the state.
The people of Assam have given me yet another opportunity to serve them. I am very grateful to them. I have tried in my own way to serve the people of Assam to the best of my ability. I will do so with renewed dedication and commitment.