New Delhi : Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam s comment that Sonia Gandhi never claimed the prime minister s post in 2004 has led to a war of words between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While the Congress says it proves BJP was opposed to Gandhi s prime ministerial candidature, BJP said she still is the "super prime minister".
In a chapter titled Controversial Decisions in his latest book "Turning Points", Kalam says if Sonia Gandhi, as chief of the victorious party, would have made "any claim for herself, I would have had no option but to appoint her" (for prime minister s post)". The BJP had vociferously protested any move to make her prime minister and Sushma Swaraj had vowed to shave her head if Gandhi was made the head of government.
Reacting to Kalam s statement, BJP said Gandhi was ultimately the "super prime minister". "This is not anything new... Kalam saab has said this earlier as well," BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said. "But that does not make Sonia Gandhi mother India , she is still the super PM, it is power without accountability," he said.
Congress on the other hand fired back saying it was all a conspiracy of those who did not want to see Gandhi as the prime minister. "What Kalam has said directly points to the BJP who did not want Sonia Gandhi to be the prime minister. They had gone to the president against her," said a spokesperson.
In 2004, when the UPA was voted in power, the Congress president had refused to accept the post and named Manmohan Singh to be prime minister. Amidst opposition and cries from her party members, Gandhi had announced "the post of prime minister has not been my aim. I was always certain that, if ever I found myself in the position I am in today, I would follow my inner voice. I humbly decline the post."