PM mum on Patil, says it’s not a question of one individual

October 1st, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

Shivraj PatilOn Board the PM’s Special Aircraft, Oct 1 (IANS) Amid the opposition’s growing demand for the resignation of Home Minister Shivraj Patil in the wake of bomb blasts in New Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said “it’s not a question of one individual but a question of improving the system to counter terrorism”.”I think we are dealing with a difficult situation. It is not a question of one individual. It is a question of the system and we have problems,” Manmohan Singh replied when asked about the home minister’s alleged failure to tackle terrorism in the country.

“We need to improve our various mechanisms which are in place to counter terrorism,” he added.

“It is certainly true that it is the prerogative of the prime minister (to choose a minister) but I have to take into account the totality of interest. Whatever will be done will be in the interest of the country,” he replied when asked whether he was looking at the possibility of a new face in the home ministry.

“You don’t expect me to discuss the issue of cabinet formation in a press conference,” the prime minister told reporters after wrapping a 10-day visit to the US and France.

“We have to put our best foot forward in dealing with the problem of terror and of Left wing insurgency,” Manmohan Singh said when asked about his top priorities in the few months left before India goes to the polls.

Underlining the threat of terrorism to the cohesion and unity of the country, Manmohan Singh called for strengthening the intelligence gathering machinery and for streamlining the investigation and prosecution processes.

“These are important aspects of tackling the terror problem and we will work hard to improve our performance in these areas,” he said.

On Sep 13, five synchronised bomb blasts - one at Karol Bagh, two at Connaught Place and two at Greater Kailash I - killed 25 people and injured 124.

Exactly a fortnight later, one crude bomb exploded in a small electronic market in Mehrauli in south delhi, killing a boy and injuring 22 people. Bomb blasts in Malegaon, Maharashtra and Modasa, Gujarat, killed five people and injured at least 15 Monday night.

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