Life Exclusive
Why Dr Manmohan Singh and not Sonia Gandhi became the PM in 2004

In a reply to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, the president’s secretariat has indirectly confirmed that a letter written by Dr Subramanian Swamy to APJ Kalam led to the then President inviting Dr Manmohan Singh as the PM

Janata Party president, Dr Subramanian Swamy’s letter to the then president, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the deciding factors in the formation of the central government in 2004. Acting on the letter, Dr Kalam had invited Dr Manmohan Singh to form the government, revealed a Right to Information (RTI) query.

Dr Swamy has been claiming that he had written a letter from Chennai to President Dr Kalam before the first UPA government was formed stating that Sonia Gandhi, president of Indian National Congress cannot be made prime minister according to the provisions in the Citizenship Act. And if she is made then PM then he will challenge the decision in court.

Delhi-based activist Subhash Agrawal filed an RTI application with the president’s secretariat seeking detailed information along with documents and correspondence relating to the formation of the central government when Dr Singh was appointed prime minister for the first time in the year 2004.

In its reply, dated 26th April 2012, the secretariat said that, “Letter written by Dr Subramanian Swamy, president, Janata Party to the president was inter alia, a communication sent in confidence by him to the president, based on which the president exercised his/her discretion to appoint the prime minister under Article 75.”

However, the president’s secretariat refused to furnish the copy of the letter as asked by Mr Agrawal in his RTI application. “Disclosure would be a breach of confidentiality and fiduciary relationship and therefore attracts section 8(1) (e) of RTI Act.”

Mr Agrawal, who has now appealed with the aappellate authority at the president’s secretariat, says that, “It is surprising that when author of the letter namely Dr Subramanian Swamy is openly revealing through the media about contents of the letter, how could the president’s secretariat claim the information to be fiduciary in nature? Significantly the CPIO (chief public information officer) has himself confessed that the then Honourable President of India exercised his right to appoint the prime minister based on that letter. At the most, the CPIO could invite ‘Third Party’ comments under section 11 of RTI Act on disclosing the said letter from Dr Swamy within five days of the receipt of RTI petition, which was not done, making the provision infructuous now at this stage.              

To the RTI applicant query where he had asked for copies of the correspondence and letters from political parties or individuals for staking claim to form the government before Dr Manmohan Singh was invited , the secretariat said, “as per record no political party staked claim to form the government.”

Mr Agrawal also sought clarity on whether it is true that certain individuals, political parties had objected to some particular person being invited to form the government and asked letters together with replies, if any, to any such objections. But the secretariat said that, “No records are available in this regard.”



nagesh kini

5 years ago

I don't think it'd made any material difference to the aam admi.
Sonia would have been in the front seat and not resorted to back seat driving!

Indi Banker

5 years ago

Has anyone ever filed an RTI petition to Home Ministry seeking information on the citizenship status and thus the political rights of Sonia Gandhi?


5 years ago

know your sonia


5 years ago

the smart moves sonia has made since she stepped into politics has turned me into her admirer rather than a critic. It shows she has it in her to run a complicated country like india in the era of coalition politics where the constitution doesnt exactly understand the complexity of running such a fragmented society. rajiv was a man of principles and he was framed and ousted from power by insiders and finally eliminated. since then began the weakening of gandhi family and all sorts of rogue elements made way into indian politics. shes got a tough task ahead as shes got to clean up her own party ridden by factions as well as take on regional satraps who run their fiefdoms. and while the focus is on central corruption, each state leader is no less than raja today as they rule without fear as they are kingmakers with ahndful of mps. best of luck sonia. hope you get majority one day and are able to make much needed constitutional amendments to balance our federal structure where delhi is becoming weaker by the day. thanks manmohanji for serving the country and putting up with crticism of people who have no moral standing in their own houses but have no qualms questioning your credentials.

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

Whats the merit in discussing hypothesis. If for educating the public. It has served its purpose. Sonia is ruling this country even when she is not the PM. It is a fact and the need of weak kneed congress. It is for the public to decide as to who should rule India.

Gaurav Pandhi

5 years ago

Dr. Subramanian Swami, the ‘crying parrot’ president of Janata Party has always shouted on the roof top questioning the citizenship status of the UPA chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and also that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was denied the post of the PM in 2004 after he wrote a letter in this regard to the then President of India Dr. Kalam, emphasisng on the Section 5 of the Citizenship Act 1955, which according to Dr. Swami concludes that Mrs. Gandhi is not the valid citizen of the Republic of India. Really, is that so?

Well, after reading about it a lot over the internet, I decided to research on this matter on my own, rather than depending on the unauthentic or incomplete information provided my Dr. Swamy or the youth of India who are prone to be attracted towards the negativity spread by the liars like Dr. Swamy.

In fact there was a press release from Rashtrapati Bhavan on 19th May 2004 stating that there was no issue as such (citizenship) that was discussed by the President and Mrs. Gandhi.

Further the irony is that I found the complete information on Mrs. Gandhi’s citizenship under the same section on which Dr. Swami had been crowing since long.

Now, read it carefully and again and again; the Section 5(1) (e) of The Citizenship Act 1955 says that:

A “person of full age and capacity who are citizens of a country specified in Schedule I:

PROVIDED that in prescribing the conditions and restrictions subject to which persons of any such country may be registered as citizens of India under this clause, the Central Government shall have due regard to the conditions subject to which citizens of India may, by law or practice of that country, become citizens of that country by registration.”

So now, the countries specified in Schedule I, are the common wealth countries and The Republic of Ireland. The list of the commonwealth countries is as under:

1. United Kingdom

2. Canada

3. Commonwealth of Australia

4. New Zealand

5. Union of South Africa

6. Pakistan

7. Ceylon

8. Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

9. Ghana

10. Federation of Malaya

11. Singapore

And the republic of Ireland

Therefore, the section 5(1) (e) of The Citizenship Act 1955 is applied only on the citizens of the countries mentioned above.

Sonia Gandhi has been living in India since 1968 and she did qualify for citizenship through naturalisation as laid down by the citizenship law and rules; however, she could only apply for the citizenship when Section 5 (1)(c) was inserted in the Citizenship Act, 1955, through an amendment. The section 5 (1)(c) states that “persons who are, or have been, married to citizens of India and are ordinarily resident in India and have been so resident for five years immediately before making an application for registration”.

Also, Sonia Gandhi became the citizen of India in 1983 by naturalisation as provided for under Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 says, “Citizenship by naturalisation” -

(1) Where an application is made in the prescribed manner by any person of full age and capacity who is not a citizen of a country specified in Schedule I for the grant of a certificate of naturalization to him, the Central Government may, if satisfied that the applicant is qualified for naturalisation under the provisions of Schedule III, grant to him, a certificate of naturalisation:

PROVIDED that, if in the opinion of the Central Government, the applicant is a person who has rendered distinguished service to the cause of science, philosophy, art, literature, world peace or human progress generally, it may waive all or any of the conditions specified in Third Schedule III.

(2) The person to whom a certificate of naturalisation is granted under sub-section (1) shall, on taking the oath of allegiance in the form specified in Schedule II, be a citizen of India by naturalisation as from the date on which that certificate is granted.

Also, in order to clear the air about Mrs. Gandhi still holding the Italian citizenship; please be informed that she acquired Indian Citizenship in April 1983 and surrendered her Italian passport to the respective embassy. The Italian Nationality Law at that time (prior to July 1, 1992) did not permit dual citizenship. If an Italian citizen naturalized the citizenship of any other country (India in this case), then the person automatically loses the Italian citizenship.

Therefore, Sonia Gandhi has fulfilled all the conditions including that a person must have adequate knowledge of a language specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, with her more than adequate working knowledge of Hindi.

Consequently, referring to the Citizenship Act 1955, Mrs. Gandhi is a valid citizen of India and has and can avail all the rights provided to the citizens of India and hence, can also become the Prime Minister of India (which she got the opportunity but she declined, not denied) whether you like it or not, this is the truth!

You may access the copy of the Citizenship Act 1955 from the link mentioned below:


5 years ago

Interested in reading this? When Swamy called for probe into 'payoff to Advani'


5 years ago

Those interested and are searching for truth may want to read a letter written by Dr Swamy to the then Home Minister, Mr L K Advani...


5 years ago

Do You Know Your Sonia? - by Dr. Subramanian Swamy

Patriotic Indians should thank the President of India for having the courage, by citing a legal hitch, to dissuade Ms. Sonia Gandhi from staking her claim to form the government on May 17th this year. She therefore, despite all the contrived media hype, did not, and could not, become the Prime Minister of 1 billion plus people of India.

It can now be said that Bharat Mata has been saved from a monumental, devastating, and permanent injury to her national interest and to the patriotic psyche of Indians.

Therefore, it should be the resolve of every Indian to make any and every effort that can be made in a democracy, to ensure that Ms. Sonia Gandhi is kept permanently out of reckoning for any public office. For those who instinctively understand that imperative, this Note has been written to explain the factual basis for this rational determination, and suggest what patriotic Indians can do now to implement that democratic and patriotic resolution.

My opposition to Ms. Sonia Gandhi is not merely because she is Italian---born, although that by itself is a major issue. In other democratic countries, including in Italy, such an issue [of foreign-born aspiring to be head of government]would not even arise at all because the issue has already been settled by incorporating into law that a person cannot hold the highest public office unless he or she is native born.

In India there is no such law but the President, according my knowledge, has correctly acted on a proviso to Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act[1955] which requires the Union Home Ministry to lay down conditions to Indian citizenship acquired by foreigners by registration, condition based on the principle of reciprocity [see annexure 1 & 2]. In Ms Gandhi’s case, such of those conditions that apply to Indians on becoming citizens of Italy, would apply to her.

The President reportedly had communicated to Ms. Gandhi on the afternoon of May 17, 2004, that if she insisted on being invited to form the government, he would want first to clarify, on a reference to the Supreme Court, whether in view of this proviso her appointment as PM could be successfully challenged in the court.

It is fair to assume that this report of the President’s decision is correct, since the President had before him my petition dated May 15, 2004 [see Annexure-3] making just that point--- that Ms. Gandhi’s citizenship is conditional, and in particular she cannot be the PM legally.

The President had also given me an appointment at 12.45 PM on May 17, 2004 to explain my submissions in person, which I did. I also told him that I would challenge such a unconstitutional appointment in the Supreme Court just as I had in 2001 when Ms Jayalalitha was illegally sworn in as Chief Minister by the Tamil Nadu Governor.

In that case, the Supreme Court had after hearing me and many other constitutional luminaries, upheld my contention that mere majority in the House is insufficient for being sworn in to a constitutional office, and that the constitutional appointing authority must ensure that there are no disqualifications as well. Ms. Jayalalitha had therefore to step down because she had been disqualified by her conviction in a trial court in the TANSI corruption case [filed by me as a private complaint]. She was subsequently acquitted by the Madras High Court, and hence became eligible the following year.

I also cited to the President a 1962 Allahabad High Court case which held that this proviso in the Citizenship Act was binding and lawful.

The nation by the stalling of Sonia becoming Prime Minister of India, has thus got an unexpected but temporary reprieve, a reprieve received not only because her citizenship of India by registration is not equal to one by birth even by Indian law, but a reprieve more because of the national security risk that was averted.

To comprehend that risk, we must however first understand who Sonia Gandhi really is and what kind of danger she, her family and her friends in Italy, hold for India’s national security. Very little is known about the Mainos’ murky past, and the little that we are told about Sonia are lies. In other words, Indians do not know who Sonia really is or what she represents [see Annexure-4].

Even for an Indian born citizen, we find it difficult to know a person’s true background, but for a foreign-born it is extremely hard because of the remoteness of the place and the language barrier for most people, in this case---Italian.

This note is thus an aide d’memoir of certain verifiable facts that taken together constitute the danger that Sonia Gandhi represents for the nation. And that is the real Sonia and what she represents.



In Reply to Rajneesh 5 years ago


5 years ago

Headline makes no sense.It is another attempt to make out fools out of little informed netizens.I'd like to see the RTI petition. It must have asked whether Swamy the maverick wrote any letter.Secretariat replied in positive. So what?

I'd rather go by presidential press release dated May 19, 2004 when Kalam was the President of India, Kalam's own words when he responded to a specific question in an interview after his presidentiall years,and the account of PM Nair who Kalam's secretary at Rashtrapathi Bhavan and the author of 'The Kalam Effect'

19-05-2004 : Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi
It has been reported in a section of the press that the President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had discussed the citizenship issue with Smt. Sonia Gandhi when she met him yesterday at Rashtrapati Bhavan. This is contrary to facts. It did not figure in the discussions at all."

"after the 2004 elections returned a divided verdict. Media reports said Sonia Gandhi had the support to become prime minister.Kalam wrote a letter to Sonia on May 17, inviting her to meet him the same day.
The plan was as follows: Nair would wait with a letter appointing her as prime minister in an ante room near the study in which Kalam and Sonia would meet; Kalam would ring a bell, Nair would walk in, and she would be named PM.The letter was prepared. Sonia came, but brought Manmohan Singh along. Nair waited impatiently for the bell to ring. It finally did.“I hurried out with the papers — only to see Sonia Gandhi and Dr Singh leaving. I ran into the study,” Nair writes. Sonia ultimately stepped aside for Singh. The letter was discarded, and a new one was drawn up.



In Reply to Chaitanya 5 years ago

It is better to not trust the press release from President's office. Didn't our president use it now to fight against her retirement house? Wasn't that press release filled with incorrect facts (which mainstream media gloriously highlighted as breaking news) and weren't the same facts proved incorrect by RTI?

If you are interested to see the RTI petition you can file an RTI yourself.


In Reply to pravsemilo 5 years ago

People are capable of distinguishing between mischievous headline reports such as these and what is on records. You don't want to trust Kalam and his secretary who was also a distinguished individual?

Why should I trust money life which shouldn't be having any business of reporting political news?What's the stated purpose of this not for Profit organisation? Oflate Sucheta Dalal is canvassing for Swamy and this headline is clearly an attempt to mislead people


In Reply to Chaitanya 5 years ago

Dear Chaitnya,
Thanks for your comment.
People may be capable of distinguishing between headlines but unfortunately you do not want to.
Please allow us to tell you something...Moneylife magazine, Moneylife Digital and Moneylife Foundation, the is a not for profit organisation, are three separate entities. And all three share the responsibility to create an awarness among people, who otherwise are fooled day in and day out by mainstream media. And for the digital media, there are no restictions on any particular segment. That is the reason you will find articles from healthcare to RTI and from personal finance to nuke tech on the digital space. Political beat is certainly not monopoly of selected few as you like to think. The above news is completely based on an RTI reply received by Mr Subhash Agrawal.
Lastly, does Dr Swamy really need canvassing from either Ms Dalal or Moneylife?
Hope you understand.
Moneylife Team

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

It was an open secret. Thats why APJKM was not given the 2nd Term and now they Talk about Political Puppet to oblige the UPA President as they are unsure about the next election to enable Raul to replace Singh. They are not Sure of Ansari. Pranab is a good bet but then they want him in Government too to tutor next PM. I think Motilal Vora may be the Dark Horse. His health is not good and the Presidency will take care as it did for Rajendra Prasad, N S Reddy, Zail Singh. He is the Treasurer. Ex Health Min Governor and CM.
And top of it a very low profile man.

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

This is yet another victory for RTI Act and the dedicated activists who choose it to obtain the right information and make effective use by disseminating it by putting it in the public domain.
Long live RTI!

a v moorthi besides TIHAR

5 years ago

Whosoever has advised then President Kalam that based on Sonia's Italian birth she cannot be appointed PM of India then it speaks very poorly about the understanding of citizenship of India. Sonia is as much Indian citizen as former President Kalam as our laws don't distinguish citizenship benefits enjoyed by Sonia and Kalam as long as both are recognised as Indians. What stops Swamy to disclose his query and the reply received by him from then President's office. this is necessary otherwise news reports come without clarity like recently how Prathiba Patil name was sullied.

In President Patils post retirement residence in Pune controversy the bungling was due to lack of application of brain by the Defense Min authorities who should have clearly told the President Sect as to whether the said piece of land was available for Post retirement stay of President. President might have desired the particular location but it was the duty of Estate Dept to inform the correct position. So President Sect and Kalam might have erred if his decision was based on the contents of Swami's query/point as the above news paper report suggests. Let RTI activist Subash Agrawal and Dr. Swami share the copy of the entire correspondence as a PDF document duly attesting their signature with money life so that Country can know as the saying goes "doodh kaa doodh, paani kaa paani" as both have in times spoken in moneylife gatherings. it should be known that Dr. Swami recently threw a howler about involvent of Karti s/o P.Chidambaram


Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to a v moorthi besides TIHAR 5 years ago

Smt Sonia Gandhi can become the Citizen of USA but She can not become the President. Similarly you may become an Italian by marriage but can not a PM. It is the question of reciprocity. If the Presidential Secretariat divulge the correspondance between APJK and SG (AM) the Right Information will come out. Cover up story of Sacrifice is well known to all.
I hope you understand.

a v moorthi besides TIHAR

In Reply to Ratanlal Purohit 5 years ago

Indian Constitution is clear about Indian citizen be it natural by birth or given Citizenship by registration ( 7 years of stay in India after marriage) or granted Citizenship by naturalization ( 12 years of stay in the preceding 14 years) and all enjoy same privileges.

Ratanlal Purohit

In Reply to a v moorthi besides TIHAR 5 years ago

Indian Constitution is not the subject matter. It can be amended. Question is what transpired SG to take back seat to drive India. Please ask SONIAJI why did she SACRIFICE. Or Ask APJK what question did he put to her to withdraw and you will get the answer. Will Italy allow an Indian to become the PM in similar circumstances. Matter may be debatable but is not relevant here. I think our Constitution has to be rewritten. We are simply following British code to govern India adopted verbatim.
Many amendments prove that it has failed the test of time.
Mr "Tihar" have Nationalistic Vichar and thank Swami for the advice and APJK to Save India from Vatican Rule.


In Reply to a v moorthi besides TIHAR 5 years ago

India doesn't allow dual citizenship. As sonia has not given up her Italian citizenship, she is not eligible. If you want to see the letter check Janata party website.


In Reply to a v moorthi besides TIHAR 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Moorthi,

As per our citizenship act she is eligible to be a citizen. But the circumstances in which she has obtained the citizenship and the way in which rules have been bent to grant it is questionable.

You can read the wikipedia page on her and see the respective references given there.


5 years ago

Sonia Rajiv (not Gandhi) and Manmohan Singh are agents for foreign countries (Sonia - Russia & MMS - USA) - so no difference.

Oil Min hikes penalty on RIL to $1.46 billion

The oil ministry feels the drop in pressure had resulted in under-utilisation or creation of excess capacity and wants to disallow cost recovery in proportion to that

New Delhi: The oil ministry has hiked the penalty it wants to impose on Reliance Industries (RIL) and its British partner BP plc for falling natural gas output from the KG-D6 fields, by 18% to $1.46 billion, reports PTI.

The ministry had previously wanted to disallow $1.235 billion expenditure that RIL had incurred on putting production facilities at the Bay of Bengal gas fields but in the seven-page notice it sent to the company on 2 May 2012, the cost to be disallowed was put at $1.462 billion, sources privy to the development said.

The drop in reservoir pressure coupled with increased water and sand ingress has seen output from Dhirubhai-1 and 3 gas fields in the deep sea KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block fall from 53-54 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) achieved in March 2010 to 27.5 mmscmd last month, instead of rising to projected 80 mmscmd for current year.

The ministry feels the drop in pressure had resulted in under-utilisation or creation of excess capacity and wants to disallow cost recovery in proportion to that.

The Production Sharing Contract (PSC) allows an operator to deduct all capital and operating expenses from the revenue it earns from sale of hydrocarbons—called cost recovery—before sharing profits with the government.

The notice signed by A Giridhar, joint secretary (exploration) in the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, says $457 million expenditure in 2010-11 and another $1.005 billion in 2011-12 will be disallowed for cost recovery on account of excess capacity and under-utilisation of facilities.

Sources said the ministry had previously wanted to disallow $457 million of cost recovery for 2010-11 and $778 million of cost recovery in 2011-12. The ministry and its technical arm, the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) is to approve accounts for the two fiscal.

Anticipating such a move, RIL has in November last year slapped an arbitration notice on the ministry saying the PSC allows operators to recover 100% of the capital and operating expenditure and does not in anyway link the cost recovery to production.

The ministry has thus far tried to browbeat RIL into withdrawing the arbitration notice, saying that no dispute has arisen as yet but its notice of 2 May 2012 establishes there is a dispute over how much of cost can be recovered.

With the ministry refusing to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the issue, RIL had moved the Supreme Court requesting for appointment of arbitrators on behalf of the government.


Kingfisher talking to tenants to avoid eviction

The cash-strapped airline has been defaulting on payments against lease rentals, oil purchases, landing and parking fee and even service tax and TDS and now two developers from Mumbai has slapped eviction notice to Kingfisher

Mumbai: Vijaya Mallaya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines continues to hit air pockets with two real estate developers from Mumbai now slapping eviction notice for allegedly defaulting on rent payments since last November, reports PTI.

The airlines sources confirmed the development and said the management is negotiating with the developers to resolve the deadlock.

The cash-strapped airline has a rented property in the Andheri suburb of the city, from where it is running a part of its operations, while the main administrative office is located at the Kingfisher House, which the promoter Mallya has been planning to monetise to raise some working capital funds for the airline.

"Senior airlines representatives are in talks with some of the developers for quite some time now to resolve the deadlock and arrive at a solution," Kingfisher Airlines sources told PTI. The airline spokesperson, however, was not available for comments.

The notice by city-based developers-- Samruddha Realtors and Dhruvam Realtors-- is understood to have been served on 11th April through their solicitors, giving a month's time to vacate the space held by the airline at Andheri (East).

The cash-strapped carrier has been struggling for survival for nearly a year and has been defaulting on payments against lease rentals, oil purchases, landing and parking fee and even service tax and TDS.

The airline has a debt burden of over Rs7,000 crore and accumulated losses of Rs6,400 crore. It also owes around Rs280 crore towards the Airports Authority of India and Rs518 crore to Hindustan Petroleum in fuel dues.

In the absence of any succor from lenders, the airline has reduced its operations to one-third from 400 flights a day with just 20 aircrafts.

Income and service tax authorities had many a time frozen its bank account for defaulting on tax payments.


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