RD Minister says he could not be 'traced' for meeting with Prez on land ordinance
Rural Development Minister Birender Singh, who was conspicuous by his absence when three senior ministers had briefed President Pranab Mukherjee on land ordinance said on Friday he could not be "traced" that day even as an effort was made to contact him.
New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Birender Singh, who was conspicuous by his absence when three senior ministers had briefed President Pranab Mukherjee on land ordinance said on Friday he could not be "traced" that day even as an effort was made to contact him.
Former Rural Development Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, however, took a jibe at the Haryana leader saying Singh was the state's "tragedy king".
"He is still a tragedy king. When it is his bill and he did not go to the President, then what else he is if not a tragedy king," Ramesh said taking a dig at Singh who had described himself as "tragedy king of Haryana politics" just ahead of quitting Congress and joining BJP.
At the official briefing, Singh, however downplayed questions as to why he did not go the President to explain the need for the Ordinance on land bill, which belonged to his ministry.
He quipped, "Efforts were made to trace me but I could not be contacted. If the President has consulted one or two ministers, naturally they will be there."
Amid the combined attack of opposition parties on the issue, three senior Union Ministers -- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had met the President to explain the urgency in promulgating the ordinance on Land Acquisition before he gave his nod to it.
Singh, who had joined the BJP from Congress during Haryana Assembly polls and was reportedly not in favour of the Ordinance, also dismissed reports that he was "upset" about changes in the original bill.
There were media reports claiming that Singh, a farmer leader, was upset over the dilution of law passed during the UPA regime.
"If I am angry, then I do not have to be in the Cabinet. Whatever I have done, I have ensured that farmers' interests are protected," Singh said.
In a tongue in cheek remark, Singh also said "I never had a talk with Vidya Balan" when asked whether the film actress named as brand ambassador on sanitation during former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh continues to discharge that responsibilities.