Former Gandhi family loyalist K Natwar Singh kicked up another political storm on Thursday by raking up Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins in a television interview.
Slighted at being rebuffed by the Congress president after his alleged involvement in the Iraq food-for-oil scam of 2005, the 83-year-old said Gandhi’s behaviour "towards a person who had been loyal to the family for 45 years and one who had been close to her" showed the “ruthless side” of her.
“Neither Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi nor Rajiv – nor any other Indian - would have behaved like that (with me). That is a part of Sonia that is ruthless,” said Singh, who quit the Congress in 2008.
Asked whether Sonia’s behaviour (towards him) was linked to her Italian origins, the former external affairs minister shot back saying: “What else can it be? Some part of her is not Indian”.
Speaking on his soon to be released autobiography titled ‘One Life is Not Enough’, Singh disclosed that Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister had decided to send troops as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka without consulting his cabinet or top officials .
Singh, however, spoke positively about his commitment, hard work and intentions and resisted from “singling him out for the IPKF fiasco”, saying that “everybody was responsible” for it.
“Rajiv was too trusting and decent a human being” who, during the first 18 months of his tenure as Prime Minister, “depended wholly on a team of ignoramuses with inflated egos”.
In his book, Singh has said that one of the members of this group “claimed to be a socialist, while the other was an inept political wheeler dealer. The third was a meddling nuisance”.
Singh identified two of these as Arun Nehru and Gopi Arora (both deceased), while refraining to name the third, “who was very old now”.