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Manmohan should own up to govt decisions: Jaitley

Manmohan should own up to govt decisions: Jaitley

Author: Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: April 13, 2009

Introduction: It is now not only a question of 'weak leadership', it is also an issue of absentee PM, says BJP leader

BJP on Sunday Said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should stop playing the "outsider" and own up the decisions taken by his government at the Centre.

Referring to the prime minister's statement that he was unaware of the CBI's decision to give clean chit to Jagdish Tytler, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said the media had carried reports about the move on April 2 - four days before Mr Singh said he was not in the loop on the issue. "His ministers had welcomed the decision of the CBI. How can the prime minister claim that he was unaware of the development. It is now not only a question of "weak leadership", it is also an issue of absentee prime ministership," Mr Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said it was public outrage that forced Congress to withdraw the riot-tainted politicians from the fray. "Mr Singh is trying to project that the two were withdrawn from the poll race after he came to know about the clean chit to them," Mr Jaitley said.

The BJP leader also said the prime minister's attempts to appropriate an "above the fray" image will invite only ridicule as he has been energetically defending the UPA's embarrassing liaisons with criminal-politicians and wanton disregard for constitutional niceties in the past five years. "On every important issue, the prime minister has indulged either in ruthless buck passing or he has marked "no opinion". The prime minister has failed to lead from the front," Mr Jaitley said. "At the time of polls, the prime minister cannot hope for an image makeover. His track record of past five years is proof that he has been weak and helpless," he added.

The war of words between the prime minister and BJP will only intensify in the days to come. Although Congress leadership has thrown a protective shield around the prime minister, BJP has been calling out Mr Singh to debate on critical issues confronting the country.

At every campaign meeting of Mr L K Advani, Mr Singh is the target of attack. "You have a situation in which the prime minister's office is held by a person who holds office but no authority. And the person who has the authority has no accountability... this is no democracy," Mr Advani has been telling his audience.

This saw Sonia Gandhi hitting back at Mr Advani. "I want to ask Advaniji what are his achievements? I want to ask during the six-year tenure in Delhi, when he was home minister and deputy prime minister, what did he do for the farmers? What did he do for the poor? He did not do anything," she asked in her campaign rallies in Bihar and Jharkhand.

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