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Jun 30, 2012 at 02:32pm IST

Kalam's remark on Sonia as PM in 2004 leads to Congress-BJP spat

New Delhi: In his latest book, former president APJ Abdul Kalam has sought to dismiss speculation that he was the prime reason why Sonia Gandhi refused the PM's post in 2004.

In the chapter titled 'Controversial Decisions' of his book 'Turning Points, A Journey Through Challenges', Kalam has written that if Sonia had made "any claim for herself, I would have had no option but to appoint her".

It was widely believed that Kalam had reservations against Sonia Gandhi becoming the Prime Minister and this was the prime reason why Sonia did not.

The book is published by Harper Collins and is slated to be released next week.

The BJP, however, reacted to the issue saying the information was nothing new. "Kalam's admission just proves that Sonia Gandhi enjoys power without accountability," said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

"This is not new... Kalam has said this many times in the past also… Sonia Gandhi takes all the key decision in the party... She has power without accountability... She has not done any sacrifice," he added.

Meanwhile, Congress tried to deflect the tirade onto BJP, saying Kalam's statement directly pointed at the party that "did not want Sonia Gandhi to be the Prime Minister".

Satyavrat Chaturvedi said, "What Kalam has said directly points to the BJP who did not want Sonia Gandhi to be the Prime Minister. They had gone to the President. This (Kalam's statement) speaks of the people who did not want to give Sonia Gandhi the right the Constitution has given her."

The CPI(M) sought to brush aside the controversy saying Kalam's tenure as president was a part of history.

"The contents of the book are coming out as his book is soon to be released and the Presidential election is happening so this makes some part of interesting news. Otherwise what happened then is a part of history, nothing beyond that," CPI(M) leader D Raja said.

'I humbly decline the post'

While declining the post of Prime Minister in 2004 amidst huge tears and cries by the Congress leaders to not do so, Sonia had said, "The post of prime minister has not been my aim. I was always certain that, if ever I found myself in the position I am in today, I would follow my inner voice. I humbly decline the post."

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