Do you think the Congress should now announce its PM candidate?
The Congress president has already answered that question. We will announce our candidate for the Prime Ministership at the appropriate time.
Corruption issues which have come to light during UPA-2.
Most of these charges relate to the period of UPA-1. Coal block allocation as well as 2G spectrum allocation were both in the era of the UPA-1. We went to the electorate on the basis of our performance in that period,and the people of India gave us the mandate to govern for another five years. So,whether these issues which have been raised from time to time by the media,sometimes by the CAG,sometimes by court,one must never forget that they belong to a period which was not the period of the UPA-2,but the period relating to the previous five years,and the people of India entrusted us with new responsibilities. So the people of India do not seem to have paid heed to all these charges of corruption which are levied against me or my party.
Do you feel there is something you should have done differently (on scandals like CWG and 2G)?
I feel somewhat sad,because I was the one who insisted that spectrum allocation should be transparent,it should be fair,it should be equitable. I was the one who insisted that coal blocks should be allocated on the basis of auctions. The Opposition has a vested interest. Sometimes the media play into their hands as well,and therefore,I have every reason to believe,that when history is written of this period,we will come out unscathed. This is not to say that there was no irregularity. There were irregularities. But the dimensions of the problems have been overstated by the media,by the CAG sometimes,and by other entities.
Do you want Rahul Gandhi to be named PM candidate?
Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to be nominated as the (PM) candidate. I hope our party will take that decision at the appropriate time.
You have been accused of remaining silent. What stops you?
Jahaan tak bolne ka sawaal hai,jab bhi zaroorat padi hai,party forum mein,main zaroor bolta raha hoon,aur aage bhi bolta rahoonga.
How do you think the aam aadmi now perceives you,as a politician,as a PM?
I say it in all sincerity that I have tried to serve this country with utmost dedication and commitment and with utmost integrity. I have never used my office to enrich or to reward my friends or my relatives.
How do you see your legacy in view of the fact that you failed to act (on corruption)?
I honestly believe that history will be kinder to me than the contemporary media,or for that matter,the Opposition parties… I think,taking into account the circumstances,and the compulsions of a coalition polity,I have done as best as I could….
Is Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi an equal contest?
I have full confidence that the next Prime Minister will be from the UPA coalition,and that without discussing the merits of Mr Narendra Modi,it will be disastrous for the country to have Shri Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister.
The BJP and Mr. Modis charge against you is that you have been a weak PM.
I do not believe that I have been a weak PM. That is for historians to judge. The BJP and its associates may say whatever they like. But if by strong PM,you mean that you preside over a mass massacre of innocent citizens on the streets of Ahmedabad,that is the measure of strength,I do not believe that sort of strength this country needs,least of all,in its PM.
What about your legacy as PM?
I have done as well as I could under the circumstances. It is for historians to judge how successful I have been. If you look at the period of nine years that we have completed,compare it with the preceding six years of the NDA,I think it emerges very clearly that in most indicators,our performance has been superior to that of the NDA period.
Was the dual centre of power an asset or a liability?
I sincerely believe that an arrangement where the Congress president and the Prime Minister,do not happen to be the same person in the circumstances it has worked exceedingly well. For me,Mrs Gandhis support has been an enormous help in dealing with very complex issues.
How do you rate the phenomenon of AAP?
The people of India have reposed confidence in the AAP in Delhi. I think we must respect the democratic process. Only time will tell whether this experience is capable of dealing with the challenges that our economy and our polity face.
What was the best and the lowest moment for you as PM?
Certainly,the best moment for me was when we were able to strike a nuclear deal with the US to end the nuclear apartheid which had sought to stifle the processes of social and economic change,and technical progress of our country in many ways.
There has been a perception that decisions are made in 10 Janpath and announced at 7 RCR.
It is not a disadvantage. The Congress party president or the vice-president if they have any views,they ought to be reflected in the thinking of the government to the extent that it is possible. I think it is not a disadvantage or a drawback in the system that we have operated.