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PM knew about quota proposal: Arjun

Source: PTI
May 20, 2006 16:43 IST
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Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh rubbished suggestions that his drive on reservations for OBC was out of intended by a desire to embarrass Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"This is a canard which is below contempt [and something] only a person who does not know what kind of respect and regard I hold for Sonia Gandhi could say. She is the leader and whatever she decides is acceptable to me," he told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme on television channel CNN-IBN.

He was replying to a question whether he was jealous of the prime minister after the Congress president picked him for the top job.

Replying to a question whether the prime minister was in the know of things, Arjun Singh said, "I think there was a very motivated propaganda on this issue. Providing reservation to OBCs was in the public domain right from December 2005 when Parliament passed the enabling resolution."

The prime minister was fully aware of it and he had met the OBC leaders to convince them to support this legislation. "How can you say he was unaware," he asked.

Dismissing the suggestion that he had jumped the gun, Arjun Singh said he was only doing what was manifestly clear to everyone and was cleared by the party and the prime minister.

"There is no question of any personal agenda," he said.

Asked whether he has come up with reservation idea only to embarrass the prime minister, the HRD Minister shot back, "Why should I embarrass the prime minister. I am with him and I am part of his team."

Regarding the details of how reservations will be implemented if brought into effect, he said, "That is an issue I cannot comment upon at this moment. That is under examination. I cannot speculate. I am not free to speak today."
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