PM rules out resignation, will meet Rahul, Cabinet today NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday ruled out resigning in the wake of Rahul Gandhi rubbishing the Cabinet decision to promulgate an ordinance protecting convicted lawmakers even as he seemed to disapprove of the manner in which the Congress vice-president vent his anger. He confirmed that the ordinance was open to review. Asked whether Rahul's terming the ordinance as nonsensical had undermined his authority and whether he, as a consequence, was considering quitting, Singh said, "Well, there is no question of resigning." He did seem uneasy with the timing and the manner in which Rahul crashed a media interaction to tear into the ordinance. "Well, I am not the master of what people say. It has happened and, as I said, when I go back I will try to find out the reasons why it had to be done that way and how do we handle it." Singh said he would hold consultations with the Congress vice-president who slammed government's stand on the ordinance as "completely wrong". The meeting is set for Wednesday before the Union Cabinet gets together for a second look at the legislation. Singh dropped a strong hint of the possibility of the contentious legislation getting scrapped. "We will see which way the wind blows," he added. Singh did emphasize that the controversial ordinance had been okayed by the Congress core group which includes Sonia Gandhi and by the Cabinet, which considered the matter twice. He said, "These are all matters which are discussed before the highest body, the core group of the Congress party. The Cabinet discussed this matter twice, not once." Indicating the possibility of a rethink, he said, "But it is always possible to change one's mind and I will consult my colleagues on all these issues." On the whole, he seemed to be indulgent towards Rahul, and portrayed the latter's public rebuke to the government as reflecting a mere divergence of opinion which is the essence of democracy. He, in fact, made a case for empathy to understand "what is agitating the mind of the concerned people". However, Singh, who was talking to reporters on board his special aircraft, sought to scotch the suggestion that he was upset by Rahul's tough remarks which were seen as an affront to the government and a blow to his authority: his remarks validating the estimate of those who have maintained that the PM, with his uncanny understanding of Congress's real power dynamics, will not let notions of hierarchy and protocol affect his composure. "I have learnt to take these things in my stride," he said. Singh's pragmatism was borne out also by another remark he made in response to a question on whether he felt diminished by Rahul's ambush on the ordinance when he was abroad and just hours before his meeting with US President Barack Obama. "I think I have been used to ups and downs and I don't get really upset," he said. In contrast to the feverish commentaries about how he might have felt offended by Rahul's dramatic intervention and that he would be better off quitting, the PM seemed inclined to take an avuncular view of the matter, defending the Congress vice-president's democratic right to express his view point. "Well, I think I have seen Mr Rahul Gandhi's statement. He has written to me on this subject and let me say that when issues are raised in a democracy, in a democratic polity, the right course is to start with trying to understand what is agitating the mind of the concerned people. When I go back, I will discuss these matters with Mr Rahul Gandhi. He has asked for a meeting with me and I will take my Cabinet colleagues also in confidence," he said. Singh refused to be swayed by the suggestion that Rahul, despite being party vice-president, could not be allowed to ride roughshod over the opinion of the core group and the Cabinet, although he claimed that he would grant the right to disagree even to an ordinary Congress worker. "I don't feel that way. I honestly feel that if there is an important point of view, any member of the Congress party, any member of my Cabinet, is free to raise issues that require reconsideration. I think that is what democracy is about. I don't think we are an authoritarian structure in which one person lays down the line all the way and therefore my humble feeling is that when a point of view has been expressed, we must sit together and understand what is agitating the mind of the person and that is what we will do," he said. PM rules out resignation, will meet Rahul Gandhi, Cabinet today - The Times of India ********************************************** Amidst all the smoke and ashes raised by the intemperate remark, and the double faced, Janus like weaselling by the Congress Party Ministers and spokespersons, and the fierce attack by non Congress Opposition, I think the PM has handled the issue very deftly and statesmanlike. He has stated the facts as they are, without showing any animus or anger, which should have been natural, and instead he has exhibited his calm. I am sure, he feels humiliated, but for the sake of his Cabinet colleagues he has left the whole issue open. He has been adroit. He has pushed the ball into the court of Sonia Gandhi and the Cabinet. Let us see how the Cabinet reacts. It is surprising that the Mother Sonia has no control over Son Rahul, who could insult his own Mother's idea and personality. Or is it a clever orchestrated act, to show that Rahul is the Rising Star, who is decisive, clear thinking, pro reality and the ideal replacement for the Setting Sun Manmohan, who is indecisive and not in control of the Govt or governance?