Rubbishing former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh's veiled attack on Congress President Sonia Gandhi from a Samajwadi Party platform, Union Minister Anand Sharma Wednesday said the suspended leader was a "rank opportunist having no political relevance".
"Natwar Singh is a rank opportunist. He has never been a political leader. Whatever offices he occupied, it was because of Congress party, its President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It is for the people to see what kind of person he is," he told reporters referring to Natwar's remarks against Singh and Gandhi in Lucknow on Tuesday.
On whether Natwar would face expulsion from the Congress, Sharma said it was for the central Disciplinary Action Committee to decide.
Natwar had claimed that he was thrown out of the government under "US pressure". In an obvious reference to Gandhi, he also said only those who were born in this country could understand its religion, knowledge, prayer and charity.
Asked to comment on Natwar's charge that the prime minister has compromised with India's foreign policy, Sharma, who is also Minister of State for External Affairs, said that there was "no departure or deviation. Any suggestion that India has compromised with its foreign policy is not correct".
Observing that the Volcker report into the Iraqi oil payoffs was discussed in both Houses of Parliament and the matter was before the court, he said the suspended leader
should go to the court instead of sharing a platform with the Samajwadi Party.
Asked whether Congress party was embarrassed with Singh's utterances, Sharma said the party was not embarrassed but that Singh was exposing and embarrassing himself as he had no political conviction or loyalty to the party.
On Natwar Singh's charge that Manmohan Singh and Gandhi had not uttered a world on the hanging of Saddam Hussein, who had always supported India in times of difficulty, Sharma said India did make a statement which was consistent with its foreign policy. "We disapprove of the charge," he said.
Asked whether the former minister's remarks would have any electoral impart in the three states going to polls, Sharma said "Natwar Singh has never been a political leader. He is a light weight and irrelevant."