US daily calls PM ‘tragic figure’, government wants apology (Second Lead)

September 5th, 2012 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) Months after the Time magazine termed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “an underachiever”, an influential US daily described him as “a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government”.

The government reacted testily and demanded an apology from The Washington Post.

In an article, “India’s ’silent’ prime minister becomes a tragic figure”, the newspaper said Manmohan Singh helped set India on the path to modernity, prosperity and power, but cited critics saying the soft-spoken 79-year-old is in “danger of going down in history as a failure”.

“The architect of India’s economic reforms, Singh was a major force behind his country’s rapprochement with the United States and is a respected figure on the world stage.

“But the image of the scrupulously honourable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government,” The Washington Post said.

The daily said that for the past two weeks, the Indian parliament has been adjourned every day as the opposition demands Singh’s resignation over allegations of waste and corruption in the allocation of coal mining concessions.

“The story of Singh’s dramatic fall from grace in his second term in office and the slow but steady tarnishing of his reputation has played out in parallel with his country’s decline on his watch.

Under attack from a combative opposition over alleged corruption in the allocation of coal blocks and a spate of other scams, the government Wednesday said it would seek an apology from the newspaper.

“How can a US daily take the matter such lightly and publish something about the prime minister of another country? I will speak to the Ministry of External Affairs and the government will seek an apology from the daily,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

Soni termed the report by The Washington Post as a piece of “yellow journalism” and “baseless”.

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