On Board Air India One: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hit back at the opposition for demanding that he step down over his alleged role in the coal blocks allocation issue.
Speaking to reporters on board Air India One while returning from the NAM Summit in Tehran, the PM said the BJP was resorting to diversionary tactics.
“There is no question of me resigning. I have to maintain the dignity of the office of PM,” Dr Singh said.
He added that “if I was resigning, I would not have been here”.
“I can't get into slanging match with political leaders. It is better, as said I earlier, I keep silent,” the PM in response to a question as to why he was allowing the BJP to set the political agenda.
The PM said “the BJP would have to wait at least till the next elections (if it wants to come to power).”
Speaking about other issues, the PM said he is sincerely hoping that Rahul Gandhi will "seriously" consider his request to join the government.
"I have always been favouring that Rahul Gandhi should play a more active role in the government. I have invited him to be a member of the Cabinet on several occasions. I sincerely hope that this time he will consider it very seriously, my request," Singh said when asked about his earlier remarks that Gandhi should play more active role in the government.
However, the Prime Minister also said he was not aware of what was going on in the mind of the young leader."...I do not know what he is planning to do...." he said.
Singh's remarks come in the wake of growing clamour in the party that Rahul Gandhi should play bigger role in the party and the government.
Amid criticism, Gandhi had recently said that he would take up a bigger role soon.
Dr Singh said he has asked Gandhi to join the Cabinet a number of times.
On talks with President Asif Ali Zardari, the PM said the trial of those charged with heinous crime of Mumbai massacre is a crucial test for Pakistan.
“There must be a genuine feeling that Pakistan is doing all that it could do to deal with terrorism directed against India from Pak soil,” he added.
Dr Singh also said that he want to bring the office of PM under the purview of the Lokpal.
Further, the PM noted that lack of cohesive coordination in domestic politics has been a factor in country not being able to lay foundation for 9 per cent growth rate.
First Published: Friday, August 31, 2012, 15:02