Friday, August 11, 2006

(Sonia has no shame) And Natwar has no backbone

I guess we all knew that: Natwar has no bckbone. Yesterday I pointed out the way Sonia is shamelessly using the spineless and powerless "Prime Minister" Manmohan Singh as a cat's-paw -- a scapegoat -- to take all blames and attacks for the non-performance mistakes and crimes of the idiotic UPA Goverment, leaving her with a clean slate.

Yesterday I pointed out how Natwar Singh does not have the guts to attack Sonia Nehru, who undoubtedly took the decision to kick him out of the Cabinet; instead he is attacking the poor Manmohan Singh, who has no real power and thus could have had nothing to do with the decision to remove Natwar.

Today I am proven correct. BBC reports that Natwar Singh made a draft submission of a speech attacking Sonia Nehru, and backed down to praise her instead:

Ex-minister backs down on Gandhi
By Sanjeev Srivastava
BBC News, Delhi

Natwar Singh
Natwar Singh used his press conference to praise Sonia Gandhi
A draft of a parliament submission has shown ex-Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh was set to launch an attack on Congress party President Sonia Gandhi.

But in a press conference on Friday he said he would never criticise her.

Mr Singh lost his job after claims he benefited from Iraq's oil-for-food scandal and was later suspended.

A judicial report made public on Monday said he had helped close contacts procure oil contracts but had not benefited personally.

In the original draft of his written submission to parliament, obtained by the BBC, he accused Sonia Gandhi of being responsible for India abandoning its independence and becoming a "slave" to US foreign policy.

Not a leaf moves in Congress... without her knowledge and approval
Natwar Singh, original draft

The draft was written before his press conference in Delhi on Friday during which he said he would never criticise Mrs Gandhi.

Publicly Mr Singh has reserved his criticism for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but the original draft showed, for the first time in his career, he was preparing to attack Mrs Gandhi directly.

In his written submission, he says that during his visit to Baghdad, no discussions took place about the oil-for-food programme and that after returning he briefed Sonia Gandhi fully about the trip.

'Fully aware'

"The Congress president is fully aware of everything. Not a leaf moves in the Congress banyan tree without her knowledge and approval," Natwar Singh says.

The former foreign minister says that he had visited Baghdad in January 2001 as the leader of an official Congress party delegation.

"Mrs Gandhi gave me a letter of introduction to President Saddam Hussein which... I delivered to the deputy prime minister, Mr Tariq Aziz, on my arrival in Baghdad.

Paul Volcker
Paul Volcker's motives need to be questioned, Natwar Singh says

"During my entire stay in Baghdad, no discussion or talk took place with any Iraqi authority with regard to the oil-for-food programme, oil contracts, vouchers , bank accounts etc."

In Natwar Singh's original draft he also raises questions about the motive and the manner in which Paul Volcker, a former US federal reserve chairman, prepared his final report on the oil-for-food scandal.

He says: "Mr Paul Volcker - whose links to successive US administrations is no secret - mentioned my name and the name of the Congress party in the annexures to his report.

"No evidence was produced in the Volcker report to justify why our names were added. Nowhere have I been given the benefit of doubt."

He adds: "It is not surprising therefore that no country in the world has taken any notice of the Volcker report except India, a country that till now prided itself on an independent foreign policy."

US 'war on Islam'

The contents of his draft letter suggested Natwar Singh had originally decided to use his known anti-American leanings to launch a counter-offensive.

The American war on terror has become a war against the Islamic world
Natwar Singh, original draft

He says in the first draft: "I am all for good relations with the US but today the American war on terror has become a war against the Islamic world. The Muslim psyche has been deeply hurt by what is happening in Iraq, the Lebanon and the American pressure on Iran.

"The 450m Muslims in the sub-continent are outraged at our surprisingly lukewarm criticism of US policies and action against friendly Islamic countries."

He also criticises the manner in which the contents of the Pathak committee report - the judicial inquiry into the allegations against him - were leaked soon after it was submitted to the prime minister.

Natwar Singh was ready to state that: "If such leaks can take place from the prime minister's office, then where is the guarantee that our nuclear secrets and other security related matters cannot also be leaked?"

He also defends his writing letters to the Iraqi oil minister to, according to the judicial report, influence and facilitate the procurement of oil contracts for both a friend and a relative.

"Since they have been given so much importance by Justice Pathak and my party, I would like to ask [which] politician in India has not written letters of introduction for constituents, friends, acquaintances etc at some point or the other.

"Are we responsible for the manner in which they are used or misused?"

'Why was I sacrificed?'

Natwar Singh argues that oil contracts under the UN oil-for-food programme were perfectly legitimate contracts and how in any case - even according to the Pathak committee findings - no financial benefit has accrued to either him or his son because of them.

"I would like to state with all emphasis at my command that nowhere have I signed any contract, received any voucher, signed any receipt or made any transaction with any party," he says.

Natwar Singh is particularly pained by the manner in which his erstwhile colleagues in the Congress party have deserted him.

"The channel to my soul and conscience is immune to the chatter and clatter of those whose links with decency, ethics and morality are non-existent. People living in glass houses should not throw stones at others," he writes.

Towards the end of his original draft, he asked the question: "Why was I sacrificed?"

Natwar Singh has been one of the Gandhi family's staunchest loyalists.

Ever since the Congress party's surprise win in the 2004 national elections, nobody in the party has dared to question Sonia Gandhi on any issue.

It is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a man handpicked by her to run the government, who has been the lightning rod for any criticism or dissidence within the government or the party.

Natwar Singh was preparing to become the first party insider in recent years to target her but the final draft of the submission, sent to the parliamentary secretariat, has most of the direct attacks on her removed.

It is thought that even the less critical comments will be removed from the final version that is made public to the upper house of parliament.

In his press conference on Friday, Natwar Singh went out of his way to praise Mrs Gandhi.

The original draft, however, shows that despite his public show of loyalty he was privately seething over his treatment by Congress and the way Mrs Gandhi is running many of its affairs.


At 9:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I chanced upon your blog while looking for what the bloggers have to say about Natwar Singh. You are right, both Sonia and Natwar are shameless creatures. But even more shameless is the SYSTEM by which we are being ruled. Until the system is reformed, we are going to have no respite from politicians of shameless type.


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