Food Minister KV Thomas has called Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar a backstabber for raising a banner of "revolt" against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in 1999 on the issue of her foreign origin.
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, made a reference to how Gandhi's foreign birth issue was raised by Pawar, P A 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."