M A I N   N E W S

CPP Meeting
Time-bound targets for poll promises
Manmohan promises reforms, jobs & investment
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

n Revival of the economic growth priority
n Promises inclusive growth
n Business as usual will not do

Likely to stake claim today

The new Cabinet headed by Manmohan Singh is likely to be sworn in on May 22. The caretaker PM is likely to meet the President on Wednesday with letters of support from the UPA's alliance partners, Independents and other parties and stake claim to form the government.

New Delhi, May 19
Manmohan Singh will be a tough taskmaster for his would-be Cabinet. Addressing a Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting this morning, he said he would ask every minister to set time-bound targets for implementation of election promises of the Congress and policies of each ministry.

“I will ask every minister to set time-bound targets for implementation of our election promises and the various programmes and policies of each ministry. We will undertake quarterly review of programme implementation by each ministry,” Singh said after Congress President Sonia Gandhi nominated him the leader of the CPP amid thumping of desks by members.

And fresh from the spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha poll, the Congress President told newly elected Lok Sabha members of her party, “The people must feel our presence, sense our intentions and bear witness to our concern for them. As party members, whether occupying government office or not, whether having a position in the organisation or not. We have a duty to remain disciplined and united, putting the party before self.” Sonia stated this after being re-elected the CPP chairperson.

Sonia’s doctrine is what son Rahul Gandhi intends to follow. He has now more or less made his intentions clear that he is not interested in any ministerial post. This despite repeated clamour from within the party that he should get a Cabinet berth.

Party sources say the Congress general secretary is keen on concentrating on organisational work. And as political observers put it, for Rahul Gandhi the power is there for taking any time he wants to. There is also a feeling that the young Gandhi’s joining the Cabinet may weaken the position of the Prime Minister.

All set to begin a new term in office, Singh emphasised the need for reforms and to reverse the slowing down of investment and employment generation caused by global economic slowdown. "There is some slowing down of investment and employment generation. We have to reverse this. We have to revive growth and make it even more inclusive,” he said. The Indian economy, after growing by an average annual nine per cent for the past four years, came under pressure of the global meltdown and expanded at a slower pace of around seven per cent in 2008-09. The Prime Minister said the global economic slowdown had hurt the country.

Internal security concerns and India’s troubled neighbourhood also figured prominently in Singh’s address, who also used this opportunity to extend a hand of friendship to members of all political parties. Cutting across the spectrum, he asked them to play the role of constructive opposition parties. Perhaps with disruptions in the 14th Lok Sabha weighing heavily on his mind, he hoped the 15th Lok Sabha would witness “a more cooperative atmosphere and more productive proceedings.”

Earlier citing a relevant clause of the constitution of the CPP, Sonia named Singh as the Parliamentary party leader and urged members to support him. ”His dignified, determined and effective leadership of the government has been an inspiration for us all and has received overwhelming approval from the people of the country,” she said.

Sonia added that “people’s verdict tells us that above all else they crave honest and capable governance and decency in public life. We must not disappoint them”. Singh, in his acceptance speech, said the impressive mandate came with the challenge of rising expectations. “The youth of India, inspired by the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, have voted in large numbers for our party. But it is in the nature of the youth to be impatient. They will not tolerate business as usual. They expect us to work with renewed energy,” he said.

Expressing happiness that there were several new and younger faces among the elected members, she said, “After many years of fractious politics, we should work together with the Parliamentary representatives of all parties towards restoring the decorum of political discourse”.



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