Nearly two months after Time Magazine tagged Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as "underachiever", criticising him for not taking the country forward by implementing major economical reforms, the Washington Post has taken a potshot at the PM by labelling him as a "tragic figure".
"India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh helped set his country on the path to modernity, prosperity and power, but critics say the shy, soft-spoken 79-year-old is in danger of going down in history as a failure," the article said.
"More and more, he has become a tragic figure in our history," the US daily quoted political historian Ramachandra Guha as saying.
While describing the PM as "the architect of India's economic reforms" and "a respected figure on the world stage", the article said "..the image of the scrupulously honourable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government."
The hard-hitting article came in the backdrop of the UPA government being hit by coal allocation controversy that caused a loss of ₹1860 billion to the exchequer. The opposition has been stalling the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament, demanding the resignation of the PM on moral ground.
"Every day for the past two weeks, India's Parliament has been adjourned as the opposition bays for Singh's resignation over allegations of waste and corruption in the allocation of coal-mining concessions," said the article.
Reaction from Political Parties:
Washington Post's comments about Manmohan Singh have not gone down well with the Congress party.
"We have our apprehension to a foreign daily publishing something baseless on our prime minister... This is what we call as yellow journalism," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told India Today. "How can a US daily take the matter such lightly and publish something regarding the prime minister of another country. I will speak to the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and government officials and definitely do something over this issue."
"It is unfortunate that a paper of the repute of post makes these allegations," Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan told CNN IBN.
On the other hand, the opposition parties were quick to support the article.
"It is true about this corrupt government. Now, the world has also come to know about it and the Prime Minister's image has demolished badly," BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told CNN IBN.
"Whatever the post has written doesn't matter, the fact is it is one of the most corrupt government riddled by so many scams," CPI leader D Raja told the news channel.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told India Today, "Everyone is saying this, not only the Washington Post that the prime minister and the current government are ineffective."