'Since when did we turn into a Communist state?'
Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a day after the Cabinet reshuffle, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Thursday said the Congress president enjoys more importance than the PM and everyone now agrees that he is a 'weak PM'.
Addressing the Ekta Yatra in New Delhi, he recalled that during his journalist days, reporters in Rajasthan were asked to report first on Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and later mention the President during their visit to the state.
"I wondered why. They told me that Khrushchev was senior in Soviet Communist party hierarchy. Then suddenly I witnessed the same thing here. Here, the importance of party president is more than the prime minister...I asked since when did we turn into a Communist state," he said.
Image: L K Advani
'It was a political comment'
Advani said some within the BJP had raised questions when he had described Dr Singh as a 'weak PM' in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but now 'everyone agrees' with this assessment.
"I respect him (Dr Singh). But when I had said he seems to be a weak prime minister, people had said I was making a personal attack," he said.
"It was in fact a political comment, even some of my colleagues had said that he is a gentleman, why make such remarks. But today everyone agrees with me," he said.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress president Sonia Gandhi
'The PM had dubbed my statements as an election stunt'
Mounting a fresh attack on Dr Singh, Advani said he was feeling vindicated by the Supreme Court rap on the government on the issue of black money stashed in foreign banks, as it ran contrary to the prime minister's earlier stand that such allegations were 'irresponsible'.
"When I had raised the issue in 2009, the prime minister had dubbed my statements as an election stunt and irresponsible. But after the Supreme Court observations that Indian black money stashed in foreign banks is a plunder of the country's resources, the rejigged Cabinet in its first meeting today was forced to discuss the issue," Advani said.
He said from allocation of 2G spectrum to Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh housing society scam, the United Progressive Alliance government was facing a series of corruption charges.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
'The government is passing through the worst crisis'
"The government is passing through the worst crisis of its tenure," he said, adding that he felt pity for the government for where 'it has reached'.
The BJP Parliamentary Party chairman also referred to the anguish expressed by the Australian government on the CWG Organising Committee not paying dues to companies from that country which had worked during the mega sports event.
"TV channels were showing headlines like Kalmadi shames again," he said in an apparent attack on the government for not taking the Games scam guilty to task.
Image: A soldier stands guard inside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium constructed for the 2010 Commonwealth Games during its inauguration ceremony in New Delhi