I am not escaping parliament, polls on schedule: PMOctober 26th, 2008 - 2:27 am ICT by IANS
On Board Air India One, Oct 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday asserted that general elections would be held on schedule and denied that frequent rescheduling of parliament sessions was an attempt on the part of his government to advance polls.Manmohan Singh was addressing a press conference on flight while returning from Beijing after the conclusion of the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit.
“I am not escaping parliament. We would like to meet in parliament as often as possible. We (government) have not forced the hands of the presiding officer. This is a decision taken after full consultation with the main opposition party and all major political parties,” said Manmohan Singh explaining the abrupt adjournment of the parliament session that lasted barely a week.
“Political parties are in the (assembly) election mode and parliament will reconvene in December.”
With assembly elections in six states scheduled for November and December, Manmohan Singh agreed that inflation and price rise would be electoral issues and these were concerns facing his government.
“We have had a reasonably good term and I would not deny that over the last few months inflation had become a problem. Also recently because of the global factors, the financial crisis is having some effect on our economy,” he said.
“Therefore, we are obliged to take corrective measures. To say that I am not worried would not be correct. It is my duty as prime minister to worry when things don’t go as planned,” he said.
“Reforms can’t take place in economic or political vacuum. The situation has been such that.. oil prices shot up in a manner that if I had passed on the whole burden to people, there would have been reckless inflation.
“I think we are in a typical Keynesian situation where there is a lack of demand… The private sector demand is very weak but (there is) strong government demand - both for social services and investments,” he said.
To a question whether he would contest the Lok Sabha elections due next year, Manmohan Singh refused to give a direct answer.
“We will decide when the time comes,” he said.
In the same breath he agreed that the upcoming assembly elections, regarded as the semi-final before the “finals” next year, would be the test of his government’s popularity.
“All elections are in one way or the other a test of popularity. But that’s part of the democratic process one has to go through,” he replied stocially.
Tags: assembly elections, election mode, electoral issues, global factors, main opposition party, manmohan singh, parliament session, political vacuum, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh