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PM clears doubts over his authority

By Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sought to set at rest the frequent doubts raised by the Opposition about his ''authority'', stating he was very much functioning within the Parliamentary and democratic framework unlike in fascist states where authority was ''visibly asserted''.

In his reply to a debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said: ''Every now and then, a question is raised about Prime Ministerial authority as if we live in some totalitarian system, in some fascist state, where authority has to be visibly asserted to command compliance.

''That may be the culture and outlook of those who keep raising this issue of authority. Sir, India is a proud democracy. Ours is Parliamentary democracy. There is Parliament. There is a Council of Ministers and there are other institutions of democratic governance.

There are political parties.

''The Prime Minister functions within a set of rules and a framework of governance. Maybe those who raise this issue are unaware of this framework. Maybe they think other parties function like theirs, allowing shadowy organisations to interfere in the work of elected governments. That has not been the culture of the Congress party,'' he said.

Dr Singh delivered his 25-minute reply amid pandemonium in the House as the Opposition was standing in the well, raising slogans against the reported government interference in the functioning of the CBI in a case against Mr L K Advani relating to the Babri Masjid demolition.

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