The Prime Ministers’ Office has raised its voice against American daily Washington Post, which published an article criticizing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government."
In a letter addressing Simon Denyer, the writer of the article, PMO said the article is one sided and the writer did not make any attempt to talk with the government or Prime Minister officials to know the other side of the story before getting it published. The letter also described the writing as "unethical and unprofessional" conduct of the journalist.
"We do not complain about criticism of the government which is a journalist's right. But I am writing this letter for pointing out unethical and unprofessional conduct at your part," IBN Live reported Pankaj Pachauri, Communications Adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, as saying in the letter.
The letter also mentioned that Denyer was denied permission for the interview until the monsoon session of the parliament, as informed through a mail which clearly stated the reason for the denial.
"We expected better from the correspondent of the Washington Post for fair and unbiased reporting," the letter stated.
The trenchant criticism raised by the article titled "India's silent prime minister becomes a tragic figure" has caused furor in the country. However, the writer of the article ascertained that he stands by the article and is not offering an apology.
"I stand by the story," wrote Denyer, the Post's India bureau chief and author of the story, in a blog post in response to a complaint from Pachauri. He also denied Pachauri’s claim that the writer had apologized for his rabble-rousing criticism.
"I am not apologizing, I requested interview with T.K.A. Nair, Pulok Chaterjee (officials of the prime minister's office) and the prime minister himself. But the requests were denied and simply ignored. And it was not because the PMO did not offer interviews I wrote a one- sided article. I spoke to people in the government and spoke to people in the Congress. I spoke to a wide range of people," he said according to IBN Live.
Why is Manmohan Singh constantly attacked by foreign writers?
This is not the first time the prime minister became a victim of the acerbic criticism and India is lifting eyebrows with surprise. The country was quick to jump on top US magazine "Time" when it labeled Singh, a man who was praised and lauded for his endless effort in the liberalization policy of the country, as an "underachiever”.
Like the Washington Post article, Time too questioned the capability of India’s great prime minister. Time magazine had featured 79-year-old Singh on the cover of the magazine's Asia edition and described him as "unwilling to stick his neck out".
With the prime minister keeping tight-lipped for some unknown reasons, there is no wonder that he is becoming a dart board for foreign writers who see other Indian leaders lashing out among themselves in the fight for political power.