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I have no intention of becoming PM: Sonia

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Last updated on: May 17, 2005 22:25 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of reconsidering her decision not to become prime minister.

Speaking to the media at a tea party she hosted to mark the completion of one year in office by the United Progressive Alliance government, she said, "We have a prime minister who is doing exceedingly well. He is a man of proven integrity and there is no question of my becoming prime minister," she said.

On Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh giving six out of ten to the United Progressive Alliance government "I am very bad at mathematics. I do not like to dabble in numbers. I am satisfied with the performance of our government. I think we have achieved what no other government has achieved in one year. There are tasks ahead that need to be fulfilled," she said.

About pressure from the left parties
Sonia said the Congress is well aware of the policies of the Left parties. "We are talking to them. On Wednesday, we have a meeting of the UPA partners and Prakash Karat is coming to attend it. We hope to sort out our differences," she said.

On the experience of helming a coalition
"It has worked very well so far. We hope to complete our term."

On whether Lalu Prasad Yadav would be asked to resign from the government
Sonia said it is the prerogative of the prime minister.

"I am quoting the former prime minister of National Democratic Alliance that the question of whom to keep in the cabinet and whom to keep out is left to the prime minister, who as head of the government takes a decision," she said.

On the party's bad show in in Bihar
"Bihar is Bihar and let us leave it at that."

Will the Congress have its chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir
Sonia said November is too far off and she would take a decision in due course. "But we are happy with the coalition arrangement over there," she added.

[According to an arrangement between the Congress and People's Democratic Party in J&K the PDP must give up the CM's post in Congress' favour in November this year.]

On organisational changes in Congress
"Yes, I do plan to bring about some changes. Young leaders would be inducted. There are many bright youngsters in the party like Rahul Gandhi and they may be given responsibilities."

She admitted that the party had made some major mistakes in the assembly elections in Jharkhand. "We need to address those mistakes," she added.

She denied that the party had forgotten the common man.

"There is no question of forgetting the common man. We have huge plans to benefit the poor and particularly those living in the rural sectors. We want to ensure that the money meant for the poor reaches them," she said.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi