Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is the weakest prime minister the country has had since independence, Leader of Opposition LK Advani said on Saturday, asking him to explain to the nation why he had "backtracked" on the India-US nuclear deal.
Advani was commenting on remarks by Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday, favouring the continuation of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the face of a threat from the Left allies over the nuclear deal.
In a statement Saturday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said: "If Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi have suddenly backtracked, they have done it not out of any principles, but purely due to a rude realization that going ahead with the deal would sink the government.
"Nevertheless, both of them owe an explanation to the nation as to why they caused virtual paralysis of their own government for the past three months."
Attacking the government for heeding to the Left pressure, Advani said, "The extraordinary combination of ineptitude, arrogance, immaturity and lack of conviction that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi have displayed in the past three months shows that the thoroughly opportunist alliance that is the UPA is unfit to govern India. The episode also confirms our party's evaluation that Manmohan Singh is the weakest Prime Minister India has had."
He said the UPA government was at its weakest at present and from now onwards, "its journey can only be downhill".
Former Prime Minister VP Singh, however, welcomed the change in the Congress' stance.
Speaking to reporters at his residence, VP Singh who had been opposing the deal, said: "We are not opponents of this government. In fact we support this government on many issues.
"We have appreciated the good work it did in implementing the Right to Information Act. I also support the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, though there are some problems of implementation at the ground level. On the whole, this government is doing good work.
"I had told Manmohan Singh within a year of (the formation of) his government that he should run the government for full five years, otherwise the BJP will run away with the plank that only it can successfully run a coalition government."
Distancing himself from the Left, the former prime minister said, "I am not opposed to India-US friendship. But I do not approve of this deal because it would have bound us in subservience."