New Delhi : There is no smoke without a fire. Why is the Congress then crying itself hoarse denying that there is a rift between their two top leaders – party chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. If there is no rift, what is the big issue about.
Meanwhile, rattled by reports of a rift between Manmohan and Sonia, the Congress on Monday sought to clear the air, saying the two leaders enjoy a “perfect” and unparalleled relationship and dubbed as malicious campaign reports of possible replacement of the Prime Minister.
The party claimed there “cannot be a better relationship” between any party chief and Prime Minister than the two top leaders have.
The statement came in the wake of media reports of growing differences between Congress leadership and the Prime Minister. The reports had suggested that Singh was not keen on removing Kumar and Bansal but was forced to do so by Gandhi. “As far the relationship between the Prime Minister and party president is concerned, this is a perfect relationship. There cannot be a better relationship between any party president and Prime Minister than the one which exists between the two,” Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.
He also sought to scotch reports about the Congress high command contemplating a leadership change at the Centre. “There is no doubt that Manmohan Singh will remain Prime Minister till 2014. What you are referring to as reports are not news reports but rumours and a malicious campaign, which we not only refute but also condemn,” he said.
The AICC general secretary today recalled that when the party’s election manifesto for 2009 general elections was being released, Gandhi had covered with her hand her photo on its first page and showed Singh’s picture to people saying that
the latter will become Prime Minister after the elections if Congress won. “Even after this, whenever there was an occassion, the party said clearly that Manmohan Singh will remain PM till 2014. The same situation prevails now. No new decision has been taken about this issue in any other manner,” he said.
Dwivedi’s comments that came in the wake of reports that Singh is likely to be replaced by Rahul Gandhi as Prime Minister before the Monsoon session is apparently aimed at dismissing the perception of differences between Gandhi and Singh. Both Bansal and Kumar were seen to be close to the Prime Minister. In an unusual rebuttal of media reports which said Gandhi had prevailed over Singh for the resignations of the two ministers, Dwivedi had said that “this perception is not correct”. Party spokeperson Meem Afzal said at the AICC briefing, “there is no dfference between the Prime Minister and Gandhi.”