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Cong Slams Natwar's Remarks As 'Politically Motivated'

New Delhi

Congress tonight slammed as "politically motivated" the claim of former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh that it was not Sonia Gandhi's "inner voice" that prevented her from becoming Prime Minister but strong opposition from Rahul Gandhi.

"Natwar Singh had an unceremonious exit from the UPA Govt after the Volcker Committee Report on the Oil for Food scandal in 2005. He was later suspended from the Congress Party.

"His recent remarks in a TV interview appear to be politically motivated and aimed at seeking publicity for the sale of his book," party spokesperson and senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi said.

Party general secretary and AICC communication department Chairman Ajay Maken also dismissed as "ridiculous" the claim of Singh.

"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," Maken said.

The party's reaction came immediately after Singh claimed in a television interview 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.

"Rahul was totally against his mother becoming Prime Minister. He said she would be killed like his father and grand mother and as a son he would not allow her 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.

Natwar 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 the interview.

The book titled One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography is due to be released soon.

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