Speaking to media persons on Saturday after the swearing-in ceremony of justice Altmas Kabir as the Chief Justice of India at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Prime Minister made it clear that the ongoing reforms process was here to stay.
When his attention was drawn to allegations by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi that foreign direct investment was aimed at pleasing the US, he dismissed the suggestion saying, What has the US got to do with this We are not a country to be dictated by others.
At the BJP rally in Faridabad on Friday, Modi had termed the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail as aimed at pleasing the US. Calling the Congress-led UPA government anti-farmer, Modi had lashed out at Singh, accusing him of getting active only before the presidential elections in the US.
Responding to a query on a possible rollback of some of the reform measures, the PM said reforms were an ongoing process. We will discuss them, he said. He said the government would be able to handle the concerns of coalition partners over decisions like cap on maximum LPG cylinders, diesel price hike etc.
The prime ministers new-found assertiveness seems to stem from the robust backing the government has got from the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the party, and also the favourable apex court opinion that auctioning of natural resources was not the only option.
Questioned about the concerns expressed by alliance partners, Singh said their concerns could be discussed. DMK representative TR Baalu and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had pointed out at the UPA allies meeting that such decisions could affect electoral prospects. When asked to respond, Singh said: We are far away from elections.
An unfazed Singh, when queried about the recent attacks on him by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said: I am not bitter about anything.
Replying to a question on the Supreme Courts opinion that auction was not the sole method of allocating natural resources, he said: We will honour and respect the judgment. We welcome it.