PM: Perfect coordination between me, Sonia

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday strongly dismissed suggestions of “mistrust” between him and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying he receives constant advice and guidance from her. He maintained there is perfect coordination betwe-en the government and the party. Dr Singh, who has been running the first

Congress-led coalition government at the Centre since 2004, sought to defend his Cabinet colleagues from the Congress’ allies in the UPA, especially the DMK and the Trinamul Congress. “It would not be proper for me to discuss these issues in broad daylight,” he said.
Answering questions, the PM said there was no deal (struck) with the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, which had helped the government defeat the cut motions moved by Opposition members in the Lok Sabha. “Yeh galat fehmi apne dil se nikale,” he said.
The PM was non-committal on when will he would reshuffle his Cabinet and whether the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP would find a berth in it. You will come to know when it takes place, he said. At the same he was not categorical on the caste-based census issue and reservation for SCs and STs in the private sector, merely reiterating the government’s stand on it. He said “discussions on the issue (caste-based census) will take place in the Cabinet, and whatever decision is taken, it will be brought before the people”. In his press conference of nearly 85 minutes at Vigyan Bhavan here Monday morning, he answered political questions comfortably. He also rejected speculation about strained relations between him and the Congress chief. “... no question of a gap in thinking between me and the Congress President... She is the leader of the UPA and the president of the Congress party, and I am a Congressman. There is not an iota of mistrust or distrust between me and the Congress president,” he said when asked about reported differences between the government and the party on a host of issues. He said he meets Mrs Gandhi once a week to discuss political developments as well as issues related to governance. “Invariably we (Mrs Gandhi and me) meet every week to discuss major issues. There is no basis to believe that there is no effective mechanism to deal with issues between the Congress and the government,” he said.
Asked whether the National Advisory Council headed by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is a “super Cabinet”, Dr Singh said, “It is not a super Cabinet. It is an advisory body” that has made significant contributions in pushing forward social development programmes. “That NAC in the past, when it existed, has made very effective contributions to pushing forward social development programmes in our country,” he said.
Asked whether he was missing the “structured support” of the Left parties, he said, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
He, however, added, “I would like all like-minded political parties who support inclusive growth and the well-being of the people to come and join us in carrying forward this process “ of reforms for the people”.
Answering a question suggesting whether seat-sharing adjustments with the Congress allies in four state Assembly polls next year (Trinamul Congress and DMK in West Bengal and TN respectively) would have any bearing on the Centre, he said when the issue comes “we will take the appropriate decision.
“I am reasonably satisfied with the pace of work” but “I could do better than what I have done,” Dr Singh assessed himself and his government on the completion of UPA-2’s one year in the second term.

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