Rahul Gandhi`s intent, if not choice of words, was right: Sachin Pilot

Union Minister Sachin Pilot rejected criticism that Rahul Gandhi`s outburst on the issue undermined the position of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Updated: Oct 06, 2013, 12:12 PM IST

New Delhi: "To make an omelette, you have to break an egg," says Union Minister Sachin Pilot on Rahul Gandhi`s denunciation of the aborted Ordinance on convicted lawmakers, though he feels that "choice of words and the timing may be in question".

Considered one among the core team of the Congress vice president, he also rejected criticism that Gandhi`s outburst on the issue undermined the position of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was at that time abroad.

The minister maintained that Gandhi and all party leaders have "utmost respect" for Singh.

"Does that not take some courage of conviction....To take it head on. To make an omelette, you have to break an egg. Gandhi had done it. Government and the party supports it. And I think the country is now in a better to position tackle the issue of corruption," he said on a news channel.

Pilot was asked whether Gandhi`s outburst had not undermined the authority of the Congress Core Group chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi or the Prime Minister`s Cabinet, which took the decision and reflected his "immaturity".

"We are running this government on the behalf of the people of India. If everybody wanted to change the decision, then we did it. There is nothing wrong in saying that we actually took a step back and reflected on what we were doing," Pilot added.

Rejecting the criticism against Gandhi on the issue, he said what the Congress Vice President did was now being supported by Cabinet by Congress party.

"...Perhaps the choice of words and the timing may be in question, but the intent, the sentiments and the objectives of what he said... Irrespective of that if we look back, we will look at the fact that Gandhi did something he believed in, the Congress believed. We have changed the mind. The government has rolled back."

Replying to a question on whether Government will have to consult Rahul Gandhi before major decisions hereafter as he has emerged as the supreme leader of Congress, Pilot said Gandhi is the "leader" and certainly there are certain decisions that need to be discussed with the party.

"Rahul is one individual but he represents the Congress party. And Congress party is one that leads the government. UPA is a Congress-led government. Certainly, there are certain decisions that need to be discussed with the party and the party guides the policies and programmes of the government of the day."

"...I don`t think it`s a question of must and necessary undertaking but certainly the Congress party will make its points of view very clear..Don`t forget, it`s because of the party that we are in government," he said.

He, however, evaded a direct query on whether Gandhi is now the Supreme leader and whether his intervention on the Ordinance issue marks a generational change in Congress party.

"That conjecture is not important.... What is more important is the fact that what Gandhi did was to channelise that public opinion as a political party and spoke as its vice president and made sure that its sentiment is known to everybody including the government," he said.

Pilot also recalled that Rahul Gandhi has himself clarified very categorically that he did not mean to undermine the authority of anybody, including the Prime Minister.

He also sought to downplay contentions of the Prime Minister and UPA allies being upset over the development.

About leaders of allies like NCP`s Sharad Pawar and NC`s Farooq Abdullah disapproving of the manner in which Gandhi denounced the decision, Pilot said Congress has "tremendous respect" for the allies it works with.

"Gandhi has also clarified that the intent was not to undermine the government, the Prime Minister and the allies. ...The intent was not to upset the allies. There is no reason. It may have been something that they felt, but it has been talked through. It has been clarified."