Mumbai: Union agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar came out in strong defence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that the SC verdict cancelling 2G licenses was not an indictment of the government. He also ruled out that the 2G case will harm UPA`s poll prospects in the assembly elections to five states.
Addressing a press conference, Pawar read out few paras of the judgement and said that the judiciary had taken note of the PM`s letter to then telecom minister A Raja to ensure fairness and transparency in spectrum allocation.
"The judgement also says that the concerned minister had not bothered to consider the Prime Minister`s advice. I don`t think SC has passed any strictures against the PM. In fact, it has noted that the Prime Minister had done his job. So, PM and the UPA are not to be blamed," Pawar noted.
He, however, admitted that the 2G scam brought disrepute to the system and the government. When asked about collective responsibility of the government, Pawar said the spectrum allocation decision was taken by the individual ministry and not cabinet. He said adverse repercussions on India as an investment destination cannot be ruled out.
"Credibility and decision making process may be questioned." Pawar said ministers will now tend to adopt cautious approach and decision making may be delayed.
Replying to questions on whether UPA`s electoral prospects, he said according to his assessment Congress is likely to win Punjab, and in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi party may form government with Congress and Ajit Singh`s party.
"In Goa and Manipur, there will be no effect on the UPA partners," he said.