The Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday strongly denied the claim in Sanjay Baru’s book about PMO files being screened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and termed these allegations as “baseless” and “mischievous” even as BJP sharpened its attack against the Congress referring to Baru’s disclosures.
“The statement attributed by some media channels to a former media adviser to the Prime Minister that PMO files were seen by Congress president Sonia Gandhi is completely baseless and mischievous. It is categorically denied that any PMO file has ever been shown to Sonia Gandhi,” a statement issued by the PMO said.
Attacking Baru, former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for the disclosures made in his book The Accidental Prime Minister, a PMO statement said this was misuse of a privileged position for commercial gain.
“It is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain. The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser,” a statement issued by Pankaj Pachauri, PMO spokesperson, said.
Meanwhile, the BJP tore into the Congress on the issue. In Gandhinagar, party veteran L K Advani said Baru’s book confirmed the impression that Manmohan Singh was the weakest PM ever. At a rally in Karnataka, BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi termed the UPA government as “remote controlled” and “lame” .
BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote on his blog that among various institutions which were dwarfed in the UPA regime, the principal one was the office of the PM himself.
“The Prime Minister has to take most of its decisions approved and ratified from the Congress president. All sensitive subjects have to be discussed with the person outside the government. The appointments of key officials would be regulated by 10 Janpath. Contracts such as the coal blocks allocations were allotted by the party. Even the venue for the funeral of former Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao was decided on collateral considerations rather than on desire of the family,” Jaitley wrote.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said while Rahul Gandhi talked of empowering the people of the country, he had failed to even empower his own Prime Minister.
“If you could not empower your PM, how could you empower people of India?…The same Rahul Gandhi who along with his mother made the PM powerless says he will now give strength to the people of India,” he said. The BJP leader added that while on one hand there was an “accidental PM” Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gnadhi who is reluctant to be PM, on the other is “a very effective and responsible PM candidate” referring to Narendra Modi.
Further taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi for his interview to a TV channel on 12th April, Prasad said while his first such interview earlier was of a “kindergarten level”, even the latest one was no better than a “nursery level”.
Baru claimed in his book there were attempts made to ensure all the credit for schemes like MNREGA went to Sonia and Rahul and not the PM or the Rural Development Ministry and this had saddened the PM.