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Manmohan Singh opted to resign after Rahul Gandhi ordinance row in 2013, says Montek Ahluwalia

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 17 February 2020, 13:12 IST

Following the Rahul Gandhi ordinance trashing incident of 2013, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Montek Singh Ahluwalia that if he thought he should resign, the former deputy charman of the now inoperative Planning Commission stated.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that he told Manmohan Singh, that he did not think a resignationa on this issue was relevent.

Rahul Gandhi had criticized the ordinance put forward by the UPA to invalidate a Supreme Court judgement on convicted lawmakers. Rahul Gandhi had dubbed it as ‘coplete nonsence’ that should be ‘torn and thrown away’. Manmohan Singh, meanwhile, had ruled out his resignation though he looked displeased about the whole incident.

“I was part of the Prime Minister’s delegation in New York and my brother Sanjeev, who had retired from the IAS, telephoned to say he had written a piece that was very critical of Dr. Singh. He had emailed it to me and said he hoped I didn’t find it embarrassing,” recalled Mr. Ahluwalia.

The article was extensively talked about in the media with reference to the author being Mr Ahluwalia’s brother.

“The first thing I did was to take the text across to the Prime Minister’s suite because I wanted him to hear about it first from me. He read it in silence and, at first, made no comment. Then, he suddenly asked me whether I thought he should resign,” Mr. Ahluwalia writes in his new book “Backstage: The Story behind India’s High Growth Years.”

“I thought about it for a while and said I did not think a resignation was appropriate. I wondered then, whether I was simply saying what I thought he would like to hear but on reflection I am convinced I gave him honest advice,” he reasoned.

“Most of my friends agreed with Sanjeev. They felt the Dr. Singh had for too long accepted the constraints under which he had to operate and this had tarnished his reputation. The rubbishing of the ordinance was seen as demeaning the office of the Prime Minister and justified resigning on principle. I did not agree,” Mr. Ahluwalia wrote.

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First published: 17 February 2020, 13:12 IST