Who is `No 2` after Narendra Modi, questions Congress in LS

Taking a dig at the government, Congress on Thursday questioned as to who is the `Number 2` after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi: Taking a dig at the government, Congress on Thursday questioned as to who is the `Number 2` after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"There are certain signals (from the government) that are alarming," said Congress leader KV Thomas while participating in the debate on Union Budget in the Lok Sabha during which he targeted the government.

Wondering whether there is only one leader in the government, he asked, "Why there is no Number 2... Isn`t there is collective leadership?"

He raised the query in the context of the Prime Minister being away on a foreign visit for the past five days without any clarity as to who is in charge in his absence.

During the UPA tenure, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would name the senior most Cabinet colleague as incharge in his absence.

"There is something going wrong with the government," Thomas said.

The dig came amid a debate in political and bureaucratic circles as to who is `Number 2` in Modi`s government.

While Arun Jaitley is considered as the closest to Modi and is said to be "running the show", Rajnath Singh, who was party president till now has catapulted himself to a slot that makes him sit next to the Prime Minister.

On Tuesday, no party leader presided over a meeting of BJP Parliamentary Party in the absence of Modi, who is abroad, giving clear signals that there is no `Number 2` in the government.

Meanwhile, touching upon a host of other matters, Thomas raised the issue of government directive about appointment of private secretaries to the Ministers.
"We are concerned about the unity of the Cabinet...We expect (some kind of) transparency and dignity," he said.

Besides the former Union Minister questioned the government on why governors are being smoked out like in the case of MK Narayanan.
"Is it (such a trend) good for the country," he wondered.

Narayanan recently quit as governor of West Bengal.

"We are prepared to go together (with the government) but we must be taken into confidence... We might be only 44 (members) but we are also voice of the people," Thomas said.

Asserting that Congress has contributed to the development of the country, Thomas reminded the Opposition that the party gave leadership for 60 years since Independence.

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