`Chair` more important than `self-respect` for PM Manmohan Singh: BJP

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday made a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not putting forward his resignation over Rahul Gandhi`s carping criticism on the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers.

Updated: Oct 02, 2013, 00:55 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday made a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not putting forward his resignation over Rahul Gandhi`s carping criticism on the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers.

"There is no question of resigning," Manmohan Singh said, rejecting opposition`s demands and taunts that he give up the post after Rahul`s attack that the ordinance was "complete nonsense" which should be torn up and thrown away.
Reacting to the PM`s reaction on Rahul Gandhi`s ordinance remark, while returning from the US trip, the BJP said, "Remaining in chair is more important for PM than his self-respect."

An unfazed PM also indicated that the government could have a rethink on the ordinance when he said that he would discuss the issue with Rahul, who wanted its withdrawal. "It is always possible to change one`s mind."

Though he maintained that he does not get "upset easily", the Prime Minister said he would try to find out the reason why Rahul made a public statement and "why it had to be done that way".

Rahul had said at an impromptu press appearance that the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs is "nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown out".

"Now the conscience of a Foreign Secretary is larger than the conscience of the Prime Minister of India. Then Foreign Secretary AP Venkateshwaran chose to resign within an hour after a public snub by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi but the PM of a great country like India chooses to stick to the chair," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He added, Singh has chosen to stay on as PM in spite of a public humiliation and snub by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

"What else I can say except that the chair is more important for Prime Minister Singh than self-respect," Prasad said.

`PM`s statement about secular forces is ridiculous`

BJP also described as "ridiculous" the statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in which he has appealed all the secular forces to come together against Narendra Modi.

Reacting sharply, the opposition party alleged that it was the ruling Congress which was giving a "blatant communal angle" to everything and creating a divide in the society.

"It is the Congress which is giving a blatant communal angle to everything. Those who do such things and then give a statement calling all secular forces to come together (against Modi) look ridiculous. It is they who have created the real communal divide," BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said.

He cited Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde`s recent letter to Chief Ministers telling them not to target Muslim youths and also his recent "Hindu terror" remarks which he was forced to withdraw after BJP`s tough stand.

The BJP leader also reminded Prime Minister Singh`s statement made earlier that Muslims should have the first right over the country`s natural resources and said such remarks created a communal divide.

"This government, whose Home Minister has written to Chief Ministers asking them for sparing youth of one community... Those who say such things are now giving statement for all the secular forces to come together...It looks ridiculous," he said.

Trivedi also accused the ruling party of giving everything in the name of the poor to one minority community which was "against the Constitution".

On his return from a week-long US tour, Prime Minister Singh cautioned the nation against the "onslaught" of Narendra Modi and asked all secular forces to come together against him and expressed the hope that people will vote against BJP by realising what they are up for.

"I sincerely hope all secular forces will combine to face the onslaught of people like Narendra Modi. You will see that it will happen when people realise what they are up for," he said while returning from a visit to the US.

Rahul Gandhi likely to meet PM

Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who made strong comments against the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, is likely to meet Prime MinisterManmohan Singh on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Sources said Rahul will meet Singh in the morning at his residence. The controversial ordinance is on the agenda and the two leaders are expected to discuss the way ahead on the issue.

This will be followed by a meeting of the Congress Core Group in which the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, among others, are likely to discuss the matter.

With PTI inputs