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PM says 'not resigning. Not getting down to Tu Tu Mai Mai'

Onboard Air India One, Aug 31 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Friday said he would not resign from office, despite the opposition clamour and demand for him to do so over alleged irregularities related to the allocation of coal blocks across the country, which have been revealed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

Interacting with media onboard Air India One while returning from the Tehran NAM Summit, Dr. Singh said: "I hope that there are well meaning people in all parties who realize that what is happening in Parliament is not bringing any credit to anybody."

Asked whether he was thinking of resigning from office due to the pressure being brought on the government by the opposition, Dr. Singh said: "Well, if I was resigning, I wouldn't have been here. I hope the opposition sees sense. We are a parliamentary democracy. We have been elected for a five-year-term."

"I sincerely hope that the BJP will respect the verdict of the people and let the parliament function. In a parliamentary system, it is the majority that rules. If the BJP thinks that the majority cannot be trusted to run the country and they would like to run it their way, then that is a total negation of what democratic politics is all about," added Singh.

"It is still not too late for the BJP to realize that there is too much at stake and they have an obligation to make this parliamentary democracy of which we are genuinely proud of a great success, and in tackling the problems of our country," said Singh.

"Our country is faced with enormous difficulties. Look at what I happening in the North East. Attempts are being made to divide communities; to divide the north and south, and what is happening in some of the southern cities," said Singh.

Urging the opposition to wait till the next general elections in 2014 to allow the people of the country to decide who would govern them, Dr. Singh said that efforts are being made by the government and its law enforcement agencies to counter terrorism, which remains a serious threat.

He also described Naxalism as a growing menace. He said that because of the Naxal threat in some of the areas of the country, the government was not able to derive benefit of the mineral wealth that was there.

"Our country has done well despite all these odds, but we cannot assume that we can continue to make a mess of all the processes of governance, and yet, the country will continue to grow, provide jobs for the people. Let us wait till the next election," said Singh.

He further said: "I have to maintain the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister. I can't get into tu-tu-mai-mai, or in a slanging match with other political leaders. So, it is better, as I said earlier, that I keep silence."

When asked whether he was satisfied with the achievements of the UPA-II regime so far, he said: "There are lot of things that we would have liked to do. We would have liked to have laid the foundations of a nine percent growth rate, but international events have not helped."

He also said that a lack of cohesion in domestic politics is also a factor for slower growth.

"For example, there is a problem in bringing into effect the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It can lead to an increase in GDP by one to two percent. It will streamline taxation (and) minimize evasion," the Prime Minister said.

"I would have liked the opposition to have given us a chance for us to work, so that basic problems of India, like poverty, ignorance and disease can be dealt with effectively. But unfortunately, we go from one crisis to another. But the BJP's policy has been to disrupt Parliament," Singh said.

"These are all diversionary tactics, and one has just 24 hours, and if one is preoccupied all the time handling these diversionary tactics, naturally, this affects the capacity and ability of the government to attend to its tasks, which, I have always said, is to deal with poverty and disease, which still affect millions of our citizens," said Dr. Singh.

By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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