Date: 1/18/2006


Sonia's new voice//// The Pioneer Edit Desk //// //// 19th Jan 2006//// All those who have expressed their sense of outrage over the stunning silence of the Prime Minister and the UPA chairperson on the latest episode of the Bofors scam opera owe an apology to Mr Manmohan Singh and Ms Sonia Gandhi. The two have spoken in tandem - as they should - and removed all doubts that there may have been about their being in the know of the great heist that has left India's exchequer poorer by more than $4 million. //// Mr Singh travelled all the way to Assam to inform a breathless nation that he does not bother with minor details like his Government facilitating the de-freezing of Italian fixer Ottavio Quattrocchi's bank accounts, thus enabling him to walk away with a chunk of the bribe Bofors paid for its 1986 contract.//// Since the Prime Minister neither issues orders to his colleagues nor meddles with the messy task of running the Government, he is totally ignorant and it is no use pointing fingers at him. After allowing a decent 24 hours for an incredulous nation to digest Mr Singh's astounding disclaimer - those given to uncharitable thoughts would describe it as sheer effrontery - Ms Gandhi has spoken her mind on an issue which, presumably she feels, is needlessly agitating the masses.//// No, she has not spoken to the media directly, nor has she done so through either Ms Ambika Soni, who usually articulates in spoken words Ms Gandhi's most profound thoughts, or the Congress's accomplished spokespersons Anand Sharma and Abhishek Manu Singhvi. The onerous task of informing India about what Ms Gandhi has to say about Mr Quattrocchi pocketing a tidy little sum of tax-payers' money has been fulfilled by the CPI(M)'s Politburo member and MP Sitaram Yechury. //// While the official spokespersons of the Congress resolutely refused to be drawn into making any comment that would directly reflect Ms Gandhi's views on this remarkable conspiracy to defraud the people of India, this telly-savvy Marxist has amplified for media, with admirable confidence, the Congress president's inner voice.//// Thus we are now informed by Ms Gandhi, courtesy Comrade Yechury, that the "Government had no advance knowledge of the CBI decision to allow de-freezing" of Mr Quattrocchi's London accounts. She has also disabused us of all notions of the CBI being misused for a cover-up operation; no, the Government is "not pressurising any agency on the course of the investigation". //// In case you think that's facetious, on a more serious note, and we refer to Comrade Yechury's version, she has added that investigations into the Bofors scam "should reach a conclusion soon because it has dragged on for too long". Had it not been for Comrade Yechury's concern to keep us posted on Ms Gandhi's views, we would never have been enlightened with her insightful thoughts. Perhaps media should now onward touch base with him rather than waste time with the Congress's spokespersons who, by the way, would be well-advised to do a reality check on whether they still control their turf.//// For, given our Comrade's sterling performance - the Congress could not have pleaded its case better - it would be safe to suggest that some jobs are at stake. It is not easy to compete with bright sparks from JNU, more so when the bright spark concerned happens to be Comrade Yechury. Meanwhile, we need not be distracted by the fact that his briefing on Ms Gandhi's views flies in the face of evidence that has just surfaced in London. //// 000000000