New Delhi: Cornered
on what he meant by "cameo", union Law Minister Salman Khurshid
Saturday said he knew the word to mean "something brilliant, like
a gem, something that stands out" when he used it to describe
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's role in the party.
Speaking to journalists at his annual Aam Dawat party at his
residence here, Khurshid was questioned persistently on what he
meant by the word "cameo" he used to describe Gandhi's role in an
interview to a daily.
Denying that he ever meant the word in a flippant manner, Khurshid
said: "Cameo means something that stands out, like a gem,
He also denied having said that the Congress was "directionless",
which word was used in the headline of his interview. "I never
said that, I only said that we are waiting for directions,"
He reiterated his support to Gandhi as the number two in the
Congress party, which leads the ruling United Progressive Alliance
(UPA). "He (Gandhi) is the number two leader in the party, and we
all willingly and emotionally accept that."
Khurshid also said that in UPA-II, the "political props have got
mixed up". Refusing to mention the Congress' coalition partners
and their pulls and pressures that have held up many major policy
decisions, he said in UPA-I the "props were clearly laid out".
"There was only the Left (which gave outside support to UPA-I),
and when we crossed a certain political prop, we knew the result
and were prepared for it. But in UPA-II, we just don't know where
the props are...Is it here? Have we crossed the line there?..We
just don't know."
However, Khurshid denied any coalition trouble with Mamata
Banerjee, the head of UPA's major ally Trinamool Congress and
chief minister of West Bengal.
Asked if Banerjee would support the UPA in the vice presidential
elections, for which the Congress has nominated Vice President
Hamid Ansari for a second term, Khurshid said the Trinamool chief
had tied rakhi to Ansari a year ago. "That makes Mamata his rakhi
In an interview to the Indian Express earlier this week, Khurshid
had said: "Until now, we have only seen cameos of his (Rahul
Gandhi's) thought and ideas like democratising elections to the
Youth Congress. But he has not weaved all of this into a grand
announcement. This is a period of waiting."
After the comment was highlighted, Khurshid clarified on
Wednesday, saying his comment should be seen in a "positive
context" and not be misinterpreted.