Washington Post offers no apology for terming PM a 'tragic figure'
New Delhi, Sep 6 (ANI): The Washington Post has denied it has offered an apology for an article which described Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as "a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government".
India Bureau Chief of Washington Post, Simon Denyer said that he stands by the article.
"Absolutely not, there has been no apology, and I stand by the article, and the Washington Post stands by the article, and we see nothing to apologise for," said Denyer.
Denyer further informed that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has established contact with him and termed it as unfair.
"The PMO feels that the article was unfair on the Prime Minister, I think that the article was extremely, extensively researched and it was balanced. In terms of who I spoke to, I spoke to senior members of the Congress Party, I spoke to senior members of the government, I spoke to friends of Dr. Manmohan Singh and I spoke to newspaper editors, commentators and other people and so on, so forth. So, I spoke to a wide range of people, people who knew the prime minister and people who observed him closely and the authority to talk about his record. I reflected those views in the piece," said Denyer.
Denyer further said that the article balances Dr. Singh's achievements and categorically explains reasons for his downfall.
"I wrote a story which I consider to be balanced, I have mentioned his achievements, I have mentioned the economic reforms of 1991, I have mentioned that he was an honest man. I have mentioned his economic leadership, I mentioned the fact that he had achievements in his first term of office, particularly the one tat I have mentioned was the US-Indian nuclear deal, but you know the disappointment and the tragedy which Ramachandra Guha mentioned was the disappointment in his second term of office, perhaps he over stayed when he didn't have the energy to do as much in his second term," he said.
"That is a pretty widely held view, it's a view which is supported by opinion polls which show his popularity falling and the UPA government's popularity falling. I am reflecting the views of Indians, I am not making my own judgements," he added.
Denyer also said that the article is not a benchmark for foreign investors to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian economy.
"If foreign investors are unhappy, and I write about foreign investors being unhappy, then, don't blame me, why are foreign investors unhappy, if India decides it wants to do more to attract foreign investors, then that's India's decision, then India can make can make that decision, me writing about it one way or the other is neither here nor there actually," said Denyer.
The Washington Post report says 'the shy, soft-spoken 79-year-old is in danger of going down in history as a failure'.
"But the image of the scrupulously honorable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government," the report says.
"Every day for the past two weeks, India's Parliament has been adjourned as the opposition bays for Singh's resignation over allegations of waste and corruption in the allocation of coal-mining concessions," it adds.
The Washington Post report also mentions Dr. Singh's 'dramatic fall from grace' in his second term.
It may be recalled here that the Time Magazine had earlier in July dubbed Dr. Manmohan Singh as an "underachiever", saying he appears "unwilling to stick his neck out" on reforms that will put the country back on the growth path.
Dr. Singh, 79, was featured on the cover of Time magazine's Asia edition. With his portrait in the background, the title on the cover read 'The Underachiever - India needs a reboot.' (ANI)
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