New Delhi: The failure of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be more assertive and lack of communication in the Union Cabinet and among the UPA constituents led to the worst-ever electoral debacle for Congress, former Union minister Praful Patel suggested on Wednesday.
"We as allies have a very little role and we did not have any process... When even our minor consultation process would have been useful was never adopted," he told a TV channel.
He was replying to a specific question on whether party chief and former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar ever approached Prime Minister about being more assertive as the lack of it was going to cost all of them.
"These issues cannot be discussed by us. At the end of the day, he is the nominee of the Congress party. He may be the Prime Minister of course for whole country and for us. But in a political process, I think we had very little say," the former Civil Aviation Minister said.
Asked whether these things went unexpressed, he said, "... I am sure between many Congress colleagues whom I cannot name in TV they certainly express the same feeling with frustration many at times."
He maintained that they were expressing their apprehension and frustration and they were venting it. "But they were never saying it publicly."
Patel, however, ruled out snapping ties with Congress even as he said that several rights-based initiatives which the government adopted failed to yield the desired results.
Referring to Food Security Act and MGNREGA, he said all these measures failed to give the government the desired results.
"The rights-based policies did not yield the political benefit. In UPA I, we gave interest subsidy to farmers. We gave farm loan waiver to the farmers. Those schemes directly went to the beneficiaries and people reacted far far more positively," he said.
Patel underlined that had Rahul Gandhi been projected as the Prime Minister by Congress, the results would have been different.
"If Rahul Gandhi would have been projected, there would not have been the kind of disconnect with the people because people on one side were seeing Rahul Gandhi as the face and yet not been announced as the Prime Minister," he said.
Asked if NCP would continue to remain with UPA, Patel
said, "I don`t think success or failure should alter equations.
"We have been part of the government for 10 years and tomorrow if we are out of power, it does not mean we leave our friends and allies. It is not done in politics. I don`t think there is any necessity for NCP to rethink its position vis-a-vis Congress."
Discounting suggestions about the lack of leadership qualities of Rahul, Patel said he has been in Parliament for 10 years.
He said Rahul has been born into a political family and has got a lot of people to give him sound advice.
When asked that Rahul`s campaign never caught the imagination of the country, Patel replied, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
He said UPA would play the role of a constructive Opposition for the Narendra Modi government and was not going to come in the way of anybody just for the sake of opposition.