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Home > India > News > Report

Democracy in Congress eroding: Arjun Singh

R Prema in New Delhi | May 08, 2008 17:21 IST

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Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh [Images] has made a tongue-in-cheek attack on Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] in a book to be released by President Pratibha Patil [Images] on Friday for erosion of the internal democracy in the party's decision making.

The book titled Mohin kahan vishram (No rest for me) penned by noted Hindi writer Dr Kanhaiyalal Nandan spanning half a century of Arjun Singh's political career is full of understatements that may kick off many controversies even while he escapes saying he did not mean it.

In an interview to the author, Arjun Singh talks of the internal democracy that was once the hallmark of the decision-making process of the Congress and regretted that the decisions are taken in the party without consulting everybody. He is himself part of the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body, and hence

his remark indicates that it is a coterie that is now taking the decisions and not the CWC. He, however, would not say so in so many words.

"In the past, there were many more occasions to express one's views during this process and now since people do not feel part of that process to contribute their views, there are no qualms in disobeying and violating the decisions that the party takes," Arjun Singh stressed.

He, however, went on to point out that once the party takes a stand on an issue, he himself follows it completely and tries to act in accordance with such a stand. He believes that there is freedom to air views on an issue only so far when the party has not taken a stand.

Arjun Singh refused to talk about the book when approached by reporters, stating that he would not say a word until the book is released.

He has, however, taken a care to send an advance copy of the book to 10, Janpath a week ago to ensure that interpretations of his remarks that are bound to hit the headlines do not create any wrong impression in the mind of Sonia Gandhi.

Asked to disclose an incident that hurt him the most, the veteran Congress leader lets out a "small secret" of his life. "If you remember such incidents, they will dog you all through your life."

And, so he believes in remembering only good things that happened to him.

He also talks about privatisation of education and says he hates those making education another business. He is equally opposed to the parties in power in the states trying to inject their political thinking in school books, just because education is a state subject.

Vowing to put an end to politicisation of the school text books, Arjun Singh cites how democratic values have been ignored in the school textbooks in Gujarat that give importance to fascism and dictatorship. Such text books will have to be changed, he added.