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PM woos Left, doubts Nitish’s secular credentials

PM woos Left, doubts Nitish’s secular credentials
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First Published: Mon, May 11 2009. 05 30 PM IST
Updated: Mon, May 11 2009. 05 30 PM IST
Ludhiana, Punjab: Apparently wooing the Left for support, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said all secular parties had an obligation to provide a “purposeful, secular” government at the Centre and prevent the NDA from coming to power at “all cost”.
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He said allies of the UPA, which were “unhappy”, could be mollified but ruled out support to any government led by the Left parties arguing that they would not get more seats than the Congress.
“I always believe that all secular forces have an obligation to work together to give the country a purposeful, secular government,” Singh told a press conference when asked specifically about whether he would appeal to the Left to again support a UPA government.
To a question whether the Indo-US civil nuclear deal could be a sticky issue on forging ties with the Left, he said, “I think it is not an issue now. It has been signed, sealed and operationalised. It cannot be an issue for dialogue.”
“There is a wider purpose to give the country a purposeful, secular government for which all secular forces should vote together,” he said.
On the NDA rally here on Sunday, Singh said “you heard Narendra Modi’s tone at the NDA rally. It indicates the kind of government they want to have. This must be avoided at all cost”.
Asked about UPA allies like RJD, LJP and Samajwadi Party expressing disenchantment with the Congress, Singh said “I have no doubt that the UPA will form government. Politics is the art of the possible. Those who are unhappy can be mollified.”
To a question, he said “some kind of government” will have to be formed after the results come out as there was no provision for President’s Rule at the Centre. “But what kind of government will be formed, we have to be patient till 16 May,” he said.
The Prime Minister ruled out support to the Left for formation of government, saying they will not get more seats than Congress. “The question does not arise.”
On NDA’s rally here Sunday as a show of strength, he said it would be wrong to suggest that there is no “split” in the BJP-led alliance as “two big parties” like BJD and TDP were not with it any more.
“More disunity will be visible after the results come out,” Singh said.
To a question on changing the UPA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, he said the Congress had already declared who the candidate would be and there was “no wavering of its commitment” on that count.
1984 riots cannot be kept alive for ever: PM
Describing 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a “painful” episode, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said the issue cannot be kept alive for ever and some people were raking it up for their vested interests.
He also disapproved of some of his partymen seeking votes in Punjab in the name of a “Sikh Prime Minister”, saying religion should not be mixed with politics and that he was an Indian first.
To a question of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Singh said at a press conference that it was a “painful episode. But it cannot be kept alive for ever.”
After the UPA government came to power in 2004, he said, it had reviewed the cases and enhanced compensation for the victims.
Par kuch log apni dukan chamkane ke liye is kisse ko hamesha ke liye zinda rakhna chahte hei. Is se na to desh ko koi faida hei na Sikh community ko (Some people want to keep this issue alive for their vested interests. It is not going to help either the country or the Sikh community),” he said.
On his party seeking votes in Punjab in the name of a “Sikh Prime Minister”, Singh said, “I sincerely believe that religion should not be brought into political matters. I have not authorised anybody to use my name. I am an Indian first.
“I am Prime Minister of India and I represent all sections of the Indian people. Therefore, I do not think in terms of Siks and non Sikhs,” he said.
PM expresses ‘doubt’ over Nitish’s secular image
With Nitish Kumar rebuffing UPA attempts to woo him, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday attacked the Bihar chief minister saying his secular credentials were in “doubt” after he shook hands with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
“There is no doubt that Nitish Kumar professes to be a secular leader. But on Sunday after seeing him shake hands with Modi, a doubt did arise in my mind,” Singh said at a press conference, winding up his election campaign in the country.
He was replying to a question whether he considered Kumar to be communal or secular.
Singh also slammed Kumar for claiming the Centre had not given the money promised as compensation to victims for last year’s Kosi floods in Bihar.
“Whatever Nitish has said is absolutely false...The fault of not spending the money is with the state government and not with the Centre,” said the Prime Minister while underlining that he had himself visited the affected areas to oversee relief process.
Kumar had on Sunday alleged that the Centre had promised Rs1,100 crore for Kosi victims but did not give anything.
Certain procedure has to be followed: PM on Afzal’s hanging
Rejecting main opposition BJP’s charge of delay in hanging Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said a certain procedure has to be followed.
“There is a set of procedure laid down. That procedure has to be completed,” he said replying to questions at a press conference here at the end of country-wide campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.
“How long the procedure would take, it is not for me to say,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister said the law of the land will have to be allowed to function.
To another question, he said “terrorism is a menace that must be dealt with firmly”.
He, however, said that while doing so, any particular community should not be targeted.
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First Published: Mon, May 11 2009. 05 30 PM IST