The Washington Post’s remark that the image of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had become that of “a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt Government” invited sharp reactions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
While the Opposition BJP, which often criticises the Prime Minister for “inaction” and “incapability”, chose to remain silent on the issue, the Government and the Congress protested the foreign newspaper’s remark and termed it baseless. Among other things, the write-up had pointed out that “economic reforms have stalled, growth has slowed sharply and the rupee has collapsed” under the UPA-II regime.
The PMO told the newspaper in a letter that the report appeared totally one-sided. The Prime Minister’s media advisor Pankaj Pachauri said in the letter that he wanted to point out the “unethical and unprofessional conduct” on the newspaper’s part. He said the PMO expected fair and unbiased reporting from the daily.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said on Wednesday that the Government would take “strong” action against the newspaper for publishing such an article.
Interestingly, the BJP, which has been demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation over the coal scam, did not comment on the article. Not long ago, addressing a rally, veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani had termed Singh as ‘a failure’.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post has said that it stands by the story. Recently, the Time magazine had also brought out an issue with Singh as the cover story. The article was titled ‘The Underachiever’.