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Natwar hits back at Sonia

The charges by the 75-yr-old career diplomat-turned-politician comes close on the heels of Sonia's criticism of him, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2006 04:23 IST

Reacting to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's remark that she felt betrayed by him, former External Minister K Natwar Singh has blamed her for his recent problems with the Enforcement Directorate in the Iraqi oil-for-food scam. He has also attacked her foreign origin.

“Everything the government did against me was on Sonia's direction. I will not blame (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh,” he told Star News, according to a release issued by the channel.

Breaking his silence on Sonia, Natwar also said he feared that he and his family might be jailed and harm may can come to his family members, including his grandson. Reacting to Sonia’s accusation, he said: “Betrayed is a strong word and according to Indian culture, such words are not used for a person older than her by 15 years… Those who are born on Indian soil will only understand the country's ethos and culture. Others will not.”

“Why don’t they sack me from the party if I am guilty,” Natwar asked.

The former minister said he would not take the attacks on him lying down. “You see, I know a lot of things about the party and the leadership.” He said he was capable of creating trouble for the party and for Sonia, adding that he had many things up his sleeve.

“I have many options which I will exercise when the time comes. But let the Congress leadership decide about me first,” Natwar said. On Sonia’s statement that she had only “working relations” with him, he said that she had invited him and his wife to Priyanka’s wedding in 1995. “No other Congress leader except Sheila Dikshit was invited,” he said. “I stood by her during PV Narshima Rao’s tenure,” he added.

The Congress dismissed Natwar’s outburst, indicating it was considering what action could be taken against him. Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said: “Natwar Singh’s anger and frustration is understandable. But that cannot be an excuse for intemperate or threatening remarks.”

Natwar quit as External Affairs Minister in November last year. In August this year, he was suspended from primary membership of the Congress.


First Published: Oct 29, 2006 18:28 IST