Congress president more important than PM: Advani (Second Lead)November 21st, 2008 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani Friday defended his criticism of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and said the Congress president Sonia Gandhi had become more important than the prime minister.“My criticism of the prime minister essentially is in the context that in a parliamentary democracy, the prime minister is the last word. 7 RCR (Race Course Road, the prime minister’s official residence) is the most important address in New Delhi, not 10 Janpath (Gandhi’s residence),” Advani said during an interactive session at the HT Leadership Summit here.
“There can be no case for the Congress president being more important than the prime minister. In these years past, the office of the prime minister has been devalued,” the BJP leader maintained.
Advani has often termed Manmohan Singh as India’s weakest prime minister.
He recalled, amid laughter, that Gandhi’s late husband Rajiv, when he was the prime minister, had offered to make 10 Janpath the residence of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, which Advani then was and now again is.
“I said nothing doing, I am happy where I am (in my Pandara Road apartment) but my security people then forced me elsewhere.”
Advani had shifted out in 2002, when he was the home minister, to a spacious bungalow on Prithviraj Road. He was later elevated to deputy prime minister. He continues to reside in the same bungalow.
Asked whether he ever foresaw a coalition between the BJP and the Congress, India’s dominant political parties, Advani said in a lighter vein: “Let the proposal be made. Let it come from them (the Congress).” The BJP leader said this with a smile and an expansive wave of his hand.