Pune, Apr 12:  BJP leader Narendra Modi referred to the book penned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s former media advisor Sanjaya Baru and sought answers from Congress president Sonia Gandhi on allegation that “she handled the government files before the PMO”.

“One of the biggest revelations was made yesterday in a book. It claims that Sonia used to clear the Central government’s files before the PMO. The government appointments, ministerial portfolios, transfers etc. were being decided by her and then cleared by the PM mechanically without applying mind,” Modi said alluding to Baru’s memoir “The Accidental PM” which has crated an uproar in political circles.

Modi was addressing an election rally here tonight in support of party candidate Anil Shirole.

“The institution of Prime Minister had been degraded. Sonia has kept mum even 24 hours after the revelations in the book. She should answer the charges as people want to know,” Modi said.

“We had heard about the remote control but in this case the remote itself was running the government,” Modi said.

If the institution of PM was devalued like this, no country in the world would accept its constitutional authority, he said.

“The revelations in the book have also explained the intemperate action on part of ‘shehzada’ (Rahul Gandhi), daring to tear off the ordinance (on conviction of elected representatives) which was approved by the cabinet and PM. These are serious charges made in the book written by an insider,” the BJP’s PM nominee said.

Citing instances of institutional degradation, the BJP leader said, “the PM’s authority as the Planning Commission (chairman) too was eroded with the setting up of the National Advisory Council (NAC) which kept him in the dark while taking decisions”.

For the first time, the country saw frictions between the government and the Army as well as the CVC, he added.

Taking a dig at Congress, Modi said the Congress-led UPA “excelled” in promoting those people who have messed up in their jobs.

“Sushilkumar Shinde as power minister plunged the country into darkness and was immediately promoted to the Home portfolio. After corruption charges in the NGO run by him for the handicapped, Salman Khurshid was made external affairs minister. Sheila Dikshit, who is facing CWG scam charges, has become Governor,” he said.

Criticising various schemes and acts implemented by the UPA government, Modi said, “The MNREGA hardly served the purpose for which it was started, with the number of beneficiaries remaining negligible and much below its target.”

“If a train or a plane meets with an accident, a few persons are killed but an ‘accidental PM’ as described in Baru’s book has broken the whole country,” the BJP leader said.

In a veiled reference to the criticism by his opponents that he has a ‘dictatorial’ mindset, Modi said, “A democratic country as big as India cannot be run by one individual. Prime Ministers and governments come and go but the country goes ahead. Democracy draws its strength from preservation of constitutional institutions.”

Taking a dig at NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Modi said Pawar who had once opposed Sonia is now “singing praises” for her.

“…This is a case of black magic… Nowadays, he has started abusing me,” he added.

Modi said the black money stashed away in foreign bank accounts by powerful people in the country should be brought back and utilised for development.

Modi also demanded a clarification on reported foreign bank account of former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Amritsar Amrindar Singh, who is pitted against BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley.

Taking potshots at Congress for fielding Vishwajeet Kadam who hails from neighbouring Sangli district from Pune, Modi said, “It was a pity that the party could not find one good deserving candidate from Pune itself.”

Congress has fielded Kadam in place of sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi.

“The 2014 Lok Sabha elections will decide the nation’s destiny,” Modi said, adding “ensure over 300 seats for BJP for a strong and stable government”.