Sharad Pawar unreliable, fickle: Arjun Singh
Sharad Pawar is at the receiving end of late Congress veteran Arjun Singh who has accused him of being flip-flop, unreliable and fickle and wondered when the ''final rupture'' would take place between him and the Congress.
Singh's criticism and his unfavourable assessment of the NCP chief has been made in the late leader's soon-to-be released autobiography "A Grain of Sand in the Hourglass of Time" being brought out by Hay House India.
The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, who was Pawar's colleague in the Narasimha Rao cabinet and later, has attacked him for raising the foreign origin issue of Sonia Gandhi and his subsequent hobnobbing with Congress.
In the book, Singh has said that he had warned Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 against re-admission of Pawar in the Congress saying his "history was not at all inspiring" and he could again ditch the party any day.
"My assessment of Pawar’s flip-flop nature proved correct in that, 13 years later, he began a malicious campaign against the leadership of the party. After being expelled, he formed a new party called the Nationalist Congress Party", he had written in the book.
Singh was also sure that this was not going to be the last act of Pawar, who, in one incarnation or the other, continues to hobnob with the Congress Party as a coalition partner.
"One is not sure when the final rupture would take place as it is bound to", Singh, who had been a Cabinet colleague of Pawar in the Narasimha Rao and UPA-I Government, said. Singh recalled that Pawar along with P A Sangma and Tariq Anwar dealt "an unforeseen blow" in 1999 to the Congress Party by suddenly raising the issue of the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi, which was "totally uncalled for."
"This incident also confirmed the unreliability and fickleness of Sharad Pawar", he said.
Recalling that in 1986, Rajiv Gandhi asked him to come along to a meeting in which he would formally reinduct Pawar into the Congress, Singh said, "I could not resist myself and told him that he, of course, had the right to take this step as the Congress president.
"But the history of Sharad Pawar, I pointed out, was not at all inspiring. I warned Rajiv that Pawar could again ditch the party any day. Rajiv did not reply, but only gave one of his enigmatic smiles. Sharad Pawar was thus back in Congress".
NCP is a constituent of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre for the last eight years and is sharing power in Maharashtra since 1999, just a few months after Pawar parted ways on the foreign origin issue of Sonia Gandhi.
A key Congress strategist when A B Vajpayee's government lost by one vote in Lok Sabha in April 1999, Singh has not not dwelt much on the dramatic developments except pointing an accusing finger at Mulayam Singh Yadav for failure of the Congress to form the alternative government.
After the fall of the NDA Government, Sonia Gandhi failed to form a government staking claim to power with the famous quote of "we have 272".
"The opposition had won the numbers game, but the Congress could not form the next government because Mulayam Singh Yadav(the head of the Samajwadi Party) backed out at the last moment", he has said without any elaboration.