The BJP on Saturday mocked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being more of a reader than a leader. It also taunted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra for his ‘business model’ involving real estate.
The party picked on the PMO’s claim that Singh, who it called “the weakest prime minister”, delivered over 1,200 speeches in the last decade. A report in the Wall Street Journal – a dramatised compilation of facts already in the public domain – provided ammunition for the attack on Vadra.
“A prime minister must be communicative. He must be heard with attention. He must be a leader and not just a reader,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley wrote on his blog, noting that the PMO was statistically correct on the PM’s speeches though he was not being heard. “The Prime Minister walked on snow, but did not leave any footprints,” he wrote.
Jaitley referred to US President Barrack Obama’s visit to India and several important speeches he delivered, including one in the parliament’s Central Hall. “Most of the speeches were read out from the teleprompter. The teleprompter had a transparent screen. We, in the audience, thought it was an extempore speech. But the President was reading from two teleprompters,” Jaitley said.
During the presidential banquet in his honour, Jaitley said, he had an opportunity to interact with the key draftsmen of Obama’s speeches. “Each of his speeches were prepared by an expert and vetted by a group of officials and eventually by the President himself,” Jaitley said.
On Vadra’s ‘dubious’ real estate business, Jaitley wrote: “So far this business model has raised only eyebrows. It is time it raises serious questions.”
Elaborating on what he called “Vadra business model”, Jaitley said it was about starting a business without any investment, which eventually saw investment coming in as loans and advances – a synonym for political equity.
“Use these loans to buy property at fraction of the market cost. Many people are willing to sell property for an inadequate consideration, accumulate a land and a property bank with the patronage of the state. Sell off some properties and repay the original loan. The rest is all yours with no liabilities,” Jaitley wrote, adding the Vadra model required a research paper to be prepared by a key business analyst.
The WSJ report had compiled data on how Vadra purchased land in Rajasthan and Haryana at throwaway prices and the Congress governments there later sanctioned solar power projects, ensuring bonus for Vadra.