Thomas, who has been at odds with Pawar on issues like Food Security, made the accusation against the Maratha strongman in his book 'Sonia, the beloved of masses' while narrating events at a stormy Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet.

Devoting a separate five-page chapter titled 'Backstabbing' in the 110-page book, he made a reference to how Gandhi's foreign birth issue was raised by Pawar, PA Sangma and Tariq Anwar. The trio later went on to form a separate party--Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Thomas recalled that the Congress president was "dumbstruck" when Sangma first raised the issue at the CWC meeting followed by Pawar.

"Pawar started from where Sangma stopped. He praised her role as president of the party in bringing about unity in the party and making it vibrant. Then he went on to add that the party was not able to counter the propaganda on Sonia's foreign birth," the book said.

Sonia felt the heat of the revolt as she heard these words from Pawar who was made Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha by her, Thomas said in the book.

Thomas further wrote that the Congress party received a letter from those who turned their back on the party.

"Sonia did not care to read it. The reply was written by Arjun Singh. He described the trio who broke with Sonia as the Mir Jaffers. The backstabbing was more than what Sonia could tolerate."

Mentioning that the drama was staged at the CWC strictly as per the script prepared months in advance, Thomas said, "There was little rapport between Sonia and Pawar despite their being in the same party. Sonia always used to keep some distance from Pawar. Perhaps, she had in her mind Rajiv's observation that Pawar, though capable, was not trustworthy."

For Congress, the "somersault" of Pawar was like the Chief of the Armed Forces joining the enemy camp, he wrote.

Pawar had eyed the second-in-command position in the party enjoyed by Arjun Singh. He had calculated that after the 13th Lok Sabha elections, if Soniaji were to be the PM, his pet dream of becoming PM would never be realized, the book added.

The book was first released in Malayalam in 2006. The current English version has additional chapters: "Once again with Sonia", "Rahul - sacrifice of a mother for the nation" and "Food Bill, Sonia and I".

Thomas was Minister of State for Agriculture and Food for nearly two years from May 2009 under Pawar. He was given independent charge of the Food Ministry in January 2011. Since then, the two ministers have locked horns on several issues including food law and sugar policies.

At present, the two of them have divergent views on fixing export subsidy for raw sugar, which has forced the Cabinet to defer the decision for three times.


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