A day after he was snubbed by the party high command for criticising TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh maintained that he had not “crossed any boundaries” of party line. “Which boundaries have I crossed and on which issues,” he asked with regard to an AICC statement yesterday that he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the party.
The Congress, which is still trying to woo Mamata’s TMC despite recent bickerings, had issued a statement yesterday distancing itself from Singh’s comments that the West Bengal Chief Minister was “immature” and “erratic”. Singh told PTI that he was in agreement with the party’s message that he was not its spokesperson. “So, I have no question on that. Whatever I have said, I have said in my personal capacity,” he said. Asked to rate TMC as an ally, Singh merely said, “Every political party acts according to its own roadmap.” To a question on whether he sees any larger design in Trinamool’s opposition to the UPA’s Presidential nominees, he said, “Each individual party moves along according to that party’s core vote.” When asked about TMC’s conduct on the issue of Presidential poll, the AICC leader said, “That is for everyone to see but the fact remains that TMC is still a part of UPA.
” Expressing confidence that UPA will be winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Singh pointed out that the ruling alliance has not lost any ally so far. Asked whether there is a fear in Congress that NDA was trying to poach upon its allies, Singh said that every political party has a reason to extend its support base but Congress is confident of forming a government in 2014. “Why not” was his short response when asked whether UPA-II will remain intact till the next Lok Sabha elections. Singh said the next general elections will be a contest between national parties–Congress and BJP, though regional parties will also have a role to play.
Asked about factionalism in Congress, Singh said this has to be addressed by the party at its own level. Singh parried questions on whether Samajwadi Party could join the UPA and whether the ruling alliance would be including more parties by 2014. “Can’t say just now. At the moment, everyone’s concern is to see that the President and the Vice President’s elections are completed without much difficulty,” he said.
On whether he foresees SP and Congress coming closer, Singh merely said that Samajwadi Party has been supporting UPA I and UPA II consistently since 2004. “Well I do not know” was his refrain when asked could Samajwadi Party join the Union Cabinet before 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Singh suggested that the blame lay with coalition compulsions when pointed out that there was an impression of a policy paralysis in the government and that it was not moving forward with the required urgency towards economic reforms. “People forget that India has a coalition government and in coalition government, we have to bring all political parties to an agreement on a policy,” he said, adding, “Slowly coalition partners are also realising the need for reform”. Singh said the UPA government shall decide the pace at which the reforma have to come and the issues that have to be brought on priority.
“These are the issues that will have be resolved by the UPA,” he acknowledged when asked how will the government move forward when allies like Trinamool Congress have been opposing many economic reforms including FDI in multi-brand retail. The AICC general secretary also steered clear of questions on whether there is a need to replace “obstructing” allies as demanded by some in the recent CWC meeting. “This is something, which I can’t say on my own. It will be the decision of the party,” he said.
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