US critical of Sonia`s leadership; calls Karat `extortionist`
London: Congress President Sonia Gandhi
failed to show "principled leadership" and CPM leader Prakash
Karat was an "extortionist", the US Embassy said in a cable
that discussed the political scenario in November 2007 -- days
before the Indo-US nuclear agreement was to be debated and
voted in Parliament.
In the cable dated November 7, 2007 released by
WikiLeaks, US embassy officials described Gandhi as being
"unable to show principled leadership even when it might
benefit her party at the polls and reveal Prakash Karat to be
the extortionist he is."
The cable that criticises Gandhi and discusses whether
the Manmohan Singh government would be forced to call general
elections on the Indo-US nuclear deal issue, says: "Mrs
Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
It says: "The Congress party, led by Sonia Gandhi, has
proven especially cautious and nervous in the face of
recent extortionist tactics by Prakash Karat. With two huge
confrontations in its future -- Parliament and Gujarat -- it
will remain true to its cautious form by seeking first to
gauge its levels of support before finally being forced -- if
absolutely needed -- to take action."
It adds: "With the future of Indian foreign credibility
hanging in balance, Sonia Gandhi has been unable to show
principled leadership even when it might benefit her party at
the polls and reveal Prakash Karat to be the extortionist he
is. Mrs Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an
Informing Washington that while remaining publicly
restrained and taking care not to be seen as interfering with
domestic Indian politics, the embassy said it will continue to
meet with all political, business and civil society
organisations to urge them to support the agreement.
"We will continue to press the UPA government on the
need for early completion of the safeguards agreement with the
IAEA. And, we will continue our efforts to remind the BJP
that the US-India civil nuclear agreement is their deal, too,"
the cable says.
The cable discusses several scenarios in relation to
elections in Gujarat, and whether the Congress would be able
to retain its strength in the face of popular expectations of
the BJP led by Narendra Modi once again emerging victorious.
It says: "If the Congress party can put in a healthy
performance to make a dent in this BJP bastion, observers
believe the Congress party will feel politically strong to
risk (or even call) a mid-term national poll...
"If, on the other hand, the Congress party is trampled
again in Gujarat and fails to improve on its 48 seats (out of
182 total seats in the assembly), it will feel vulnerable and
will not be tempted to risk early elections. It will then
require extraordinary political courage for the UPA to carry
out the IAEA talks, which (may) place its full term in office
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