PM not able to use authority, says Advani

New Delhi : BJP leader L.K. Advani Saturday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not “been able to exercise all authority” by accepting the communist model of government under which party chief is more important than the government head.

Responding to questions after his address on ‘India’s Yatra into the Future’ at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Advani said he had many times given his assessment of Manmohan Singh as a weak prime minister.

“Many people say what you had said earlier has proved correct now,” Advani said.

“Today, I would say one reason why prime minister has not been able to exercise all authority in office was his acceptance of communist model of government… that party chief is more important than prime minister or president,” Advani said.

Attacking Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Advani said a leader should be known to people in a democracy. “I am yet to come across a journalist or a bureaucrat who had occasion to interact with her at some length,” Advani said.

Showering Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with praises like “remarkable administrator” and “excellent political leader”, Advani said: “He has been maligned consistently. I have not seen any other leader as much maligned as Modi.”

Asked if he would again be the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections, Advani said: “(It is) for the party to decide. I don’t decide.”

He said that accepting such a role will also depend on his “inclination” and “health at that point of time”.

In his address, Advani said the government had taken “sudden” decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail and his party was opposed to it as it will increase unemployment.

He played down a question about the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) manifesto for 2004 elections having promised 26 percent FDI in retail.

“To the best of my recollection, BJP’s own approach in terms of FDI in retail has always been opposed to it. I do not exactly recollect how NDA document came up,” he said.

Advani said the party discussed the issue of FDI in retail ahead of 2009 elections. “We decided we will continue to oppose it,” he said.

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