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PM won’t quit, will meet Pranab today

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from the US on Tuesday evening and is scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday morning. The President has questioned the need for such an ordinance.

Interacting with mediapersons on board his flight home, the prime minister ruled out his resignation on the matter and said he was used to such ups and downs. ‘Any member of the Congress party, any member of my cabinet is free to raise issues that requires reconsideration,’ said the Prime Minister referring to the issues raised by Rahul Gandhi.

 The prime minister also indicated that though the cabinet had discussed the ordinance twice, there was still ‘the possibility to change one’s mind.’ Singh said: ‘Rahul Gandhi has asked me for a meeting. I will also take my cabinet colleagues in confidence. There is no question of resigning.’
A meeting of the Congress’s core group, that includes party president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will be held on Wednesday to discuss the issue. Given the build-up of public opinion against the ordinance, the party would insist the prime minister to withdraw the ordinance.

An indication of the same was given by Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit, who said, ‘Rahul is a senior party leader whose views hold value and as such the party awaits the government’s response. Rahul has only given voice to many party members who were likewise having strong reservations against the ordinance.’

Rahul Gandhi has already written to the prime minister and given reasons for his outburst. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also publicly claimed that the party continued to have confidence in Singh. The Congress president had also talked to the prime minister soon after Rahul’s outburst.

The ordinance is currently before the President, who has raised queries with three ministers he had called last week because of certain reservations. The President is leaving on a foreign tour on Wednesday afternoon and would prefer not be bothered on the matter while he is away.
Singh has already said that his government is ‘seized of all the developments’ regarding the ordinance and the issues raised will be considered on his return from the US after due deliberations in the cabinet.

However, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and National Conference have sent feelers expressing their unhappiness over the government’s decision to withdraw the proposed ordinance. NCP leader and union minister Praful Patel on Monday said the issue could have been handled in a better way.

The NCP and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah have sought a meeting of the UPA coordination committee to discuss this issue.
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