BJP, Congress spar over Kalam's Sonia remark

Last Updated 30 June 2012, 19:09 IST

Revelations made by former president APJ Abdul Kalam in his book that Congress president Sonia Gandhi never claimed the PM’s post led to a slugfest between Congress and BJP on Saturday.

It also rekindled the controversy of her foreign origin with P A Sangma saying that he will “never support any foreigner to be prime minister”.

While Congress asserted that Kalam’s remarks prove that BJP was opposed to Gandhi becoming prime minister of the country, the main opposition party said her decision should not be seen as a “supreme sacrifice” as the mandate in that Lok Sabha election was not heavily in favour of her party in 2004.

In a chapter titled “Controversial Decisions” in the 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 PM’s post)”.

Raking up the issue of Gandhi’s foreign origin, BJP had vociferously protested any move to make her prime minister.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “This is not a new thing that Kalam saheb has said. He has said this before as well. Just because he has written this in his forthcoming book, Sonia Gandhi does not become an epitome of sacrifice. She is still the super-Prime Minister.” On the other hand, Congress said that Kalam’s remarks “directly points to the BJP who did not want Sonia Gandhi to be the PM”.

Presidential candidate P A Sangma also revised his position on Sonia. “I will never support any foreigner to be Prime Minister or President of India. I am very clear about it,” Sangma said.

(Published 30 June 2012, 12:24 IST)

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