Former US President Barack Obama's remark on Rahul Gandhi had irked the grand old party, and a plethora of Congress leaders came in support of the Gandhi scion by criticising Obama. However, what remained elusive to the Congress leaders is that Obama also held former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in high regard in his memoir 'A Promised Land'.
While narrating his visit to India in 2010 when Manmohan Singh held the prime ministerial position, Obama recalled his dinner visit to the Indian Prime Minister also the discussion that took place between the leaders of two of the world's largest democracies. The dinner was hosted by Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur inviting Mr. and Mrs Obama, also joined by then full-time Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
While Obama described Rahul Gandhi as lacking "either the aptitude or the passion", he called Singh the "chief architect of India’s economic transformation" and a "man of uncommon wisdom and decency". However, citing the political observers, Obama opined that the Indian Prime Minister owed his rise in ranks to Sonia Gandhi adding that she had chosen him because he posed no threat to Rahul Gandhi, whom she was grooming to take over the Congress Party.
The excerpts from Obama’s memoir state that "Singh’s elevation as prime minister, sometimes heralded as a hallmark of the country’s progress in overcoming sectarian divides, was somewhat deceiving." Obama said Singh hadn’t originally become prime minister as a result of his own popularity and he owed his position to Sonia Gandhi.
The former US president recalled his conversation with Singh, where the latter expressed his worries about the future of the economy despite performing better than many other countries then. According to Obama, Singh was concerned as the financial crisis in 2008 and the global slowdown would inevitably make it harder to generate jobs for India’s young and rapidly growing population, coupled with the problems of Pakistan by failing to cooperate with India to investigate the 2008 terrorist attacks.
However, Obama, while describing Singh said the Indian Prime Minister seemed like “a fitting emblem of progress” for the country that transitioned to a more market-based economy in the 1990s and had unleashed the extraordinary entrepreneurial talents of the Indian people—leading to soaring growth rates, a thriving high-tech sector, and a steadily expanding middle class.
Meanwhile, the Congress leaders have retaliated at Obama for his remarks over Rahul Gandhi. While Congress leader Udit Raj said "Obama living in an earlier era", Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury advised Obama to shed his "frog in the well" mentality. Another Congress leader Acharya Pramod even went on to state that Obama should openly declare that he is also a "Modi Bhakt". However, the Congress leaders failed to take notice of Obama’s praises for Manmohan Singh who also remains to date, one of the tallest leaders from the Congress.