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Bills stuck due to opposition: PM

Hints at Cabinet reshuffle in near future

Gulf News

New Delhi: On Board PM’s Special Aircraft, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said his great regret as prime minister was that many bills had not been passed due to the “obstructionist” and “impatient” attitude of the opposition.

“The obstructionist role of the opposition increased in recent years. My great regret is that many important bills have not been passed [due to the opposition’s attitude],” Manmohan Singh told journalists on board his special aircraft while returning from a five-day official visit to Japan and Thailand.

He said the opposition could not digest that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had come back to power for a second consecutive term in May 2009.

“I can’t tell you how I feel about the way UPA-2 has moved. I think there has been a great sense of continuity between UPA-1 and UPA-2. But it is unfortunately a fact that the opposition has become more impatient than ever before,” he said.

Singh also indicated that a Cabinet reshuffle could be on the cards to fill up the vacancies.

“There are some vacancies. The issue of filling them up is being considered,” Singh said.

The Prime Minister was asked whether he was contemplating a Cabinet reshuffle in view of vacancies created by the resignations of P K Bansal and Ashwani Kumar.

Bansal quit as Railways Minister earlier this month in the wake of bribery scandal involving his nephew and a Railway Board member. Kumar also resigned as Law Minister following controversy over vetting of a CBI probe report on coal block allocation scam.

The portfolio of Railways has been given to Road and Highways Minister C P Joshi as an additional charge while that of Law has gone to Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal as additional ministry.

On his relations with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Singh said: “I can say in all truthfulness that there is no difference of opinion between me and the Congress president. We work together on almost every issue.”

“Where consultation is needed, I consult the Congress president, and therefore this perception, that on certain issues, there were differences of opinion, there is no truth in that,” he added while replying to a question on the perceived trust deficit between him and Sonia Gandhi over the recent controversy on the resignations of the ministers for railways and law.

On the issue of the Congress seeking new allies for next year’s general elections after the exit of Trinamool Congress and the DMK, Manmohan Singh said the Congress would work on this.

“In politics, there are no permanent allies and no permanent enemies. These possibilities, some people coming in, some people going out, I think, they have to be accepted as they are,” he said.