Sonia praises PM, Arjun Singh sidelined

May 10th, 2008 - 5:46 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) A day after Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh criticised the decision making process in the Congress, party president Sonia Gandhi Saturday praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but ignored Arjun Singh at a public function here. At the eighth convocation ceremony of Jamia Hamdard University, Gandhi made her displeasure over Arjun Singh’s remarks very evident when she sat a chair away from the minister for almost an hour, without exchanging a word with him.

“The prime minister has put his personal imprint on secondary education,” said Gandhi, without acknowledging any contribution by Arjun Singh, who heads the education department as the HRD minister.

Arjun Singh, at a book release Friday, said: “Today the evaluation of loyalty is done in a very narrow sense. The Nehru-Gandhi family knows who are the real loyalists and those who are pretending to be so.”

Manmohan Singh, who was present at the book-release function, distanced himself from Arjun Singh at the Friday function as did President Pratibha Patil, who was presented the first copy of the book.

Reacting to the HRD minister’s remarks, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said Saturday: “It is unfair to say no consultations take place in the Congress. At least he (Arjun Singh) should not say that. He is member of the core group, the Central Election Commission and the cabinet.”

Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed has already criticised Arjun Singh: “Sonia Gandhi has been very open at every level including the Congress Working Committee of which Arjun Singh is a member.”

Last month, Arjun Singh sparked a controversy when he pitched Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s name for prime ministership. Sonia Gandhi summoned him to 10, Janpath and apparently pulled him up.

In what was seen as a rebuff to Arjun Singh, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said: “Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have always kept away from sycophants.”

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