New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday night dismissed as "ridiculous" the claim of former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh that Sonia Gandhi declined to become Prime Minister in May, 2004 because of strong opposition from her son Rahul Gandhi who was afraid she would be killed.
"It is ridiculous. These days it has become fashionable to sensationalize the contents of a book with the sole aim of ensuring better sale and free publicity. This is yet another such exercise. Any comment on it will be a futile exercise," AICC general secretary and Communication Department Chairman Ajay Maken said.
The party`s reaction came immediately after Singh claimed that it was not Sonia`s "inner voice" that prevented her, as she had stated at the time, to take up the PM`s post.
Singh (83), an estranged Gandhi family friend, quit Congress in 2008 after he had to resign from the UPA-I government in 2005 in the wake of the Iraqi food-for-oil scam.
To persuade Natwar Singh from not referring to this particular episode in his autobiography, the Congress president along with her daughter Priyanka Gandhi had met him on May 7 at his residence but he decided to disclose facts as they were and tell the "truth", Singh claimed in an interview.
The book titled "One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography" is due to be released soon.
"Rahul was totally against her mother becoming Prime Minister. He said she would be killed like his father and grand mother and as a son he would not allow to become the PM. He was very adamant," Singh said, recalling a May 18, 2004 meeting where Manmohan Singh, Gandhi family friend Suman Dubey, Priyanka and he were present. Manmohan Singh later went on to become the Prime Minister.