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Politics
15 Dec 2017

BJP releases Rahul Gandhi-Jayanti Natarajan emails, questions Manmohan Singh's authority

PM Narendra Modi, at a recent function paying tribute to Parliament attack martyrs, exchanged a frosty hand-shake with former PM Manmohan Singh. Later, Singh released a video message demanding an apology.

Now, to counter the video, BJP has touched a nerve. Union minister, Piyush Goyal released purported emails between Rahul Gandhi and former environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan questioning Singh's authority as PM.

Here's more!

In context

BJP releases emails that question Manmohan Singh's PMship
What is the reason for the Singh-Modi unfriendliness?

Why the frostiness?

What is the reason for the Singh-Modi unfriendliness?

Earlier, now-suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar hosted a dinner for Pakistan diplomats, attended by Singh, among others. Citing this dinner, Modi had accused Singh of colluding with Pakistan to influence the outcome of Gujarat polls.

Subsequently, Singh slammed Modi for spreading "falsehoods" for political points. He said Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by casting aspersions on the intentions of a former PM.

Allegations

Now, what has Goyal alleged?

Now, Goyal attacked Singh for being a "titular head," as his government was being run by "non-state actors," referring to Sonia and Rahul.

To give legitimacy to his claims, he cited the emails. Goyal asked why Natarajan was seeking Rahul's advice, when the latter wasn't even in the government. He said "Jayanthi tax," opposition's moniker for environment ministry's alleged corruption, was actually "Rahul tax."

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What do the emails say?

Emails

What do the emails say?

The emails reportedly indicate that Natarajan wrote to Rahul about Singh's directive to ensure that her ministry supported the field trials of genetically modified crops. Natarajan and Singh apparently didn't agree on this issue.

Another email exchange suggests Rahul instructing Natarajan that no environmental rules be flouted while clearing Gujarat government's Nirma cement plant project. Goyal alleged that Rahul obstructed Modi's development work.

Assumptions

What does this indicate?

Singh has consistently been accused of being the PM office's "silent face," while actual policy-making was done by Sonia-Rahul. Thus, by raking up this issue, BJP aims to prove this assumption.

But, how did Goyal acquire these emails? Could it be through Natarajan who quit Congress in 2015 on a bitter note? Natarajan had also accused Rahul of 'interfering with decision-making' during her tenure.

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