Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks that people of the country "deeply love" US President George W Bush evoked strong criticism with parties from both the right and the left attacking it Friday as "unbecoming" of his office and "sycophancy".
While the Bharatiya Janata Party advised the prime minister not be carried away by the charm of Bush, Left parties told Singh that the popularity of US President was dipping rapidly in his country when he made such a remark.
"Diplomacy should not be carried to the extent of sycophancy. The fact remains that the country is divided on the nuclear deal," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Communist Party of India Secretary D Raja wondered how the prime minister could make such comments which "do not augur well" for his position.
"The Americans are hostile to Bush and they have rejected him and his policies. When Singh is saying that Indians love Bush, it is unbecoming of his office," he said.
RSP General Secretary T J Chandrachoodan was of the view that Singh was praising a man whom the Indians hold responsible for many ills of the world. "His comments were against the popular mood in this country. He praised Bush to get the deal through in any way. Seen in this perspective, the remarks were against diplomatic etiquette, political decency and morality," he said.
Forward Bloc Secretary G Deverajan said the prime minister's statement depicted the attitude of a slave. "Singh has shown enormous courage by saying that Indians love a President whose country hates him. Only a person who does not have any contact with people can say this," he said.
The reaction by the parties came as a response to Singh's remarks during his meeting with Bush in Washington while praising him for his "important" and "historic" role in forging several bilateral initiatives including the nuclear deal.
Asked what is the factual basis on which prime minister told Bush that people of India love President Bush, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said, "I think, if you look at the public opinion polls, the ratings for President Bush are higher in India than in any other country. That is the factual basis."