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US newspaper calls PM 'tragic figure', govt seeks apology

The government yesterday said it will seek an apology from a leading US daily that published an article calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a “tragic figure”.

“How can a US daily take the matter so lightly and publish something about the prime minister of another country? I will speak to the Ministry of External Affairs and the government will seek an apology from the daily,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni. She termed the report by The Washington Post as a piece of “yellow journalism” and “baseless”.


Talking point: In its July edition, the Time Magazine dubbed the prime minister as an ‘underachiever’. The magazine said that Manmohan Singh appears ‘unwilling to stick his neck out’ on reforms that will put the country back on growth path. File Pic

In an article “India’s ‘silent’ prime minister becomes a tragic figure”, the newspaper said Manmohan Singh helped set India on the path to modernity, prosperity and power, but critics say the soft-spoken 79-year-old is in “danger of going down in history as a failure”.

He has been described as “a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government”. After the article was published, BJP attacked the prime minister saying that nobody ever thought that his image would be demolished so badly.

“It has taken a long time for The Washington Post to realise that the prime minister does not speak, and now not speaking proves his guilt as well. The position of the prime minister today is untenable,” said BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

Apology for what?
Meanwhile, Simon Denyer, the author of the article and the India bureau chief of the newspaper, tweeted, “I made no apology for the article. After all, its mild compared to what is in Indian press all the time...!”

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