The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday criticised the move to revive the National Advisory Council (NAC) with Congress president Sonia Gandhi as its chairperson. The party said it would legitimise her “direct control” over government policies.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that so far Ms. Gandhi had the “remote control” over the Manmohan Singh-led government in her hand. “Henceforth it would be direct control.”

BJP spokespersons were criticising the move to give Ms. Gandhi Cabinet status although some party leaders confirmed that a few months ago the party sent a suggestion to the government that Ms. Gandhi be given Cabinet status as the United Progressive Alliance chairperson “and the same privilege be extended to the working chairman of the National Democratic Alliance , that is, L.K. Advani,” who no longer gets Cabinet status since he was “persuaded” to give up his position as the Leader of the Opposition to enable the generational change in party leadership as desired by the RSS.

Another party spokesperson, Tarun Vijay, said the creation of the NAC with Ms. Gandhi at its head would create a “sense of a parallel governance mechanism” and “undermine the authority of the Prime Minister.” Even without this office there was a perception that she was the real power centre, and now with this office that view would gather strength.

He also questioned the wisdom of reviving the office of the NAC chairperson when its constitutional validity and propriety was questioned earlier forcing her to resign in 2006. The government then had legitimised the office by amending the law relating to office of profit and keeping the NAC chairman's post out of its purview.

“Halo of sacrifice”

Mr. Vijay said that in 2004 the Congress managed to create a “halo of sacrifice” around her after she refused to be Prime Minister. “Where has that spirit of sacrifice gone no?” he asked.

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