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Sonia Gandhi ‘unconstitutional authority’ during UPA: PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday made a scathing attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, suggesting that she had been an “unconstitutional” authority exercising “real” power over the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) during the 10-year rule of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), whereas power was now wielded only by constitutional means.

The PM further dismissed the Congress president’s accusation that NDA government was showing “obstinate arrogance” in Parliament and that it was a government by “one person”, saying: “Perhaps, she is referring to the fact that earlier extra-constitutional authorities were the ones really wielding power”.

He went on to say that power was now “wielded only by constitutional means”.

If the charge is that “we are working through constitutional channels and not listening to any extra constitutional authorities, then I plead guilty to that charge,” said the PM.

PM also responded to the criticism that all powers were concentrated in the PMO. “Your question is loaded. It would have been better if this question had been asked when an unconstitutional authority was sitting above the constitutional authority and exercising power over the PMO”.

He emphasised that “the Prime Minister and the PMO are very much part of the constitutional scheme, not outside it”.

He also said that increased powers had been delegated to individual ministries, which means that the decisions, which were earlier needed to be taken by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, can now be taken by ministries themselves.

He said that the financial delegation for ministries had been trebled and devolution to the states had been increased.

“We have not made any changes in the business rules of the government and decisions are taken by those authorised to take them,” he maintained.

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