Advani on ‘weak’ PM: Just calling a spade a spade (Roundup)

October 21st, 2011 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Kolkata, Oct 21 (IANS) Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday sought to justify his oft-repeated remarks that Manmohan Singh is India’s “weakest” prime minister, saying “If calling a spade, a spade, is improper, I plead guilty”. He also said the UPA government was showing signs of “terminal decline”.

Lashing out against the United Progressive Alliance dispensation at a media meet here, the former deputy prime minister said the Congress-led central government was a byword for corruption and suffered from “multi-organ failure”.

“The prime minister claims he is hurt because I call him the weakest PM since the days of (Jawaharlal Nehru). But what I said was a political statement. There is no harshness in it,” Advani said before embarking on the 11th day of his Jan Chetna Yatra - a cross-country campaign against corruption.

“If calling a spade, a spade, is improper, I plead guilty. But it is not me.

“It is the Supreme Court which has observed that the 2G scam could have been averted and an estimated Rs.1.76 lakh crore loss to the exchequer saved, had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acted in time,” Advani said.

Advani asserted that his party was cooperating with the government on many matters but it also wanted the UPA regime to respect the country’s federal structure.

“They cannot be hostile in any way to states run by a non-Congress party,” Advani said.

He said the UPA was showing all signs of “terminal decline”.

“With every passing day, the UPA, nominally led by Manmohan Singh but commanded by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is exhibiting all symptoms of terminal decline. Several of its former ministers are in Tihar Jail on the charges of corruption and many more are waiting in the queue to enter,” said Advani.

“India’s image in the world is at an all time low as its governing alliance has become a byword for corruption.”

Taking a dig at the differences among UPA allies, he said the UPA should be renamed Divided Regressive Alliance.

“Senior ministers of Congress are publicly criticising and contradicting each other. In medical parlance, such a condition in a patient would be described as multi organ failure”.

“The latest outburst by Sharad Pawar, UPA ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo, against Sonia Gandhi on the issue of Food Security Act clearly represents the NCP’s annoyance at having to bear the cross of the Congress party’s nosediving image as a perpetrator and overseer of humongous corruption….”

He claimed allies like the Trinamool Congress are distancing themselves from the Manmohan Singh regime’s unpopularity although they are so far unwilling to go public with their frustration “at being perceived as partners in the Congress party’s criminal misdemeanours”.

Refering to the Indo-Bangla enclave exchange agreement signed during the prime minister’s recent trip to Bangladesh, he said Assam was up in arms over the proposed transfer of territory to Bangladesh.

“West Bengal is miffed with the attempted backdoor agreement on the sharing of Teesta waters,” the veteran leader said, alleging he could not recall such “total breakdown of governance” in his 55 years of public life.

Advani also slammed the UPA for being indecisive on the Telangana issue, that has triggered a mayhem.

Asked about his differences with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on the Yatra, Advani said: “After such reports came out I had a conversation with the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Nagpur. He expressed his surprise over such reports and told me that the moment he heard about my decision he told everyone ‘what a big decision he has taken and all should support him’.”

Advani disapproved of Team Anna’s proposal for right to recall of MPs but favoured electoral reforms, especially in respect of stopping the growing money power in elections.

“The right to recall has not been accepted by any country except one or two small countries where it may be possible to implement it properly, not in a huge country like India where it would lead to perpetual instability,” he said.

He refused to comment on media reports that Team Anna member and former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi allegedly inflated travel bills when invited by NGOs and other institutions for seminars.

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