"Pathetic to attribute to me any statement on increased threat to Sonia's life"
Even in 1999 Sonia wanted Manmohan to be PM "Soniaji is a Bharti Nari in the true sense of the word"
SRINAGAR: Congress leader Makhan Lal Fotedar on Tuesday termed the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh's remarks on party president Sonia Gandhi's renunciation of Prime Ministership in 2004 absolutely wrong and a figment of his imagination.
"It was pathetic on the part of V.P. Singh to attribute to me any statement on increased threat to Ms. Gandhi's life," Mr. Fotedar, who was on a holiday in Pahalgam, told a news conference here.
On his birthday on Sunday, Mr. Singh reportedly said he visited Ms. Gandhi after Mr. Fotedar had informed him that Congress leaders were apprehensive of a threat to her life if she accepted the Prime Minister's post.
It is "intrigue"
Mr. Fotedar said Mr. Singh's statement was "petty drawing-room politics" and exhibited nothing more than "intrigue."
Mr. Fotedar said: "She [Ms. Gandhi] declined the post because she didn't want to be Prime Minister in 2004, and in 1999 too she backed Dr. Manmohan Singh for the top post when she was chosen Congress chairperson in a resolution passed unanimously. Soniaji represents the Nehru-Gandhi legacy of "sacrifice and service."
Quoting Ms. Gandhi, Mr. V.P. Singh had cited two reasons for her decision: "If I'd accepted the PM's post ... . parties like BJP would have got an issue. Secondly, in that situation, for a long time there would have been a bitter debate, which would have been a cause of tension. And that would not have been in the country's interest."
"Symbol of sacrifice"
But Mr. Fotedar termed Mr. Singh's comments "baseless."
He said Ms. Gandhi had called him and told him that she was not interested in becoming the Prime Minister because she wanted to serve the Congress.
Tears rolling down his cheeks, he said: "Soniaji is a Bharti Nari in the true sense of the word and a symbol of grace, sacrifice and service."
"He [V.P. Singh] has a grievance against me because I got his resignation at my residence within minutes when he was Union Finance Minister."
Mr. Fotedar declined to answer queries on the recent sex scandal in Srinagar and the alleged involvement of Congress MLA Ghulam Ahmad Mir.