On why he is unable to resign

Published : Apr 07, 2006 00:00 IST

Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh. - V. GANESAN

Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh. - V. GANESAN

Interview with Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party leader.

When Sonia Gandhi resigned her Lok Sabha membership, it was as though she had taken her cue from Amar Singh, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party (S.P.). He had advised her to resign at a press conference on March 17, the day Jaya Bachchan, S.P. Rajya Sabha member, was disqualified by the Election Commission. Amar Singh's comment was that he wanted to resign as MP because he too faced similar charges as Jaya Bachchan but could not set a lofty example as his party's Parliamentary Board had denied him permission. In an interview after Sonia Gandhi's resignation, he explained why he could not follow suit. Excerpts:

You wanted to set an example of high morality by resigning your Parliament membership when you were accused of holding an office of profit. But you still carry on even though Sonia Gandhi has resigned.

What I expressed was my personal opinion. But I am a lowly worker bound by the guidelines of my party's Parliamentary Board. The Board has decided against my resignation on two counts. First, it is of the view that such an act would be an admission of guilt. Second, we do not have to make such an admission because we are yet to get from the Supreme Court a clear definition on what constitutes an office of profit. In any case, Sonia Gandhi had no option but to resign because the efforts of the Congress government to bring in an ordinance through the backdoor to protect her had boomeranged.

The Congress leadership and Parliamentary Affairs Minister have denied any move for an ordinance.

Congress leaders are known for obfuscating facts.If they did not want to make this backdoor entry, why was an entire Budget session summarily wound up? Was it the Lok Sabha Speaker who wanted to do it? What the Congress tried was a blatant attempt at subverting Parliament. When that move collapsed and generated a public outcry and political resentment, the party changed tactics.

There are suggestions to bring in a Bill to ratify and define offices of profit. Will the S.P. support it?

We will study the Bill and take an appropriate decision after evaluating its merit. Remember, the S.P. had passed such a Bill in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly but the Congress MLAs were opposed to it. We will not take such a blind, one-sided position, but make our stance clear on the basis of the provisions of the Bill.

What according to you constitutes an office of profit?

This is a question that has to be ultimately decided by constitutional and legal experts. As a social worker, I would only like to point out that there are situations where one needs to hold positions to carry out certain social responsibilities.

But the Congress in its blind hatred for the Samajwadi Party and people like Jaya Bachchan and myself engineered a controversy, little realising that it would fall in the same pit.

Suggestions have emerged that the differences between the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Bachchans have contributed to it.

No comments.

Will Jaya Bachchan contest against Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareili?

No comments.

Why no comments on as routine a question as this?

The relationship of the Bachchan and Gandhi families and the issues relating to it are beyond the domain of politics and hence of this interview.

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