Tell-all book by former PM adviser Sanjaya Baru adds to UPA woes

Apr 12 2014, 09:29 IST
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This, he has indicated in the book, was because of the party interfering in the decisions of the government and, in a larger sense, symbolic of the differences between the two. This, he has indicated in the book, was because of the party interfering in the decisions of the government and, in a larger sense, symbolic of the differences between the two.
SummaryA book by Manmohan Singh’s former aide Sanjaya Baru, ‘Accidental Prime Minister’, created a storm as soon as it hit the stands.

for the move.

“I do not want any credit for myself… I do not want you to protect my image,” Baru has quoted

Singh as having said while snapping at him for trying to credit him in the media.

That the PM was not in charge also comes across in an incident Baru narrates about how Singh had “implemented Karunanidhi’s request” to allot the telecom portfolio to A Raja in May 2007.

This was two days after the DMK chief informed him that “A Raja would be his key representative in Delhi” during a public function in Chennai.

In another instance, the book points out that Andhra leader Subbirami Reddy was “accommodated” in the council of ministers at the last minute after “white paint had been applied over the name of Harish Rawat” in the Prime Minister’s letter that had been “typed and signed” for the President for the January 2006 reshuffle as Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel got the request for Reddy’s inclusion at the last minute before it was “dispatched” to the President.

The book also highlights how ministers did not demonstrate their “loyalty” to the PM because they owed their jobs to the Congress president and not Singh.

“That Jairam Ramesh’s loyalty was only with Sonia became clear within weeks of his becoming a minister when he chose to embarrass the PM by leaking a letter that Sonia had written to Dr Singh cautioning him against pursuing an initiative he valued a lot — the free trade agreement (FTA) with member countries of the ASEAN,” the book says.

Congress leaders “did no see loyalty to the PM as a political necessity”, it adds. Against this backdrop, Baru claims he felt the PM was “not too comfortable” with the parallel policy structure of the NAC under Sonia Gandhi.

While the book does not provide much insight into the alleged tussle between the telecom ministry under Raja and the PMO over 2G spectrum pricing and allocation, it says industrialist Ratan Tata had “alerted” Singh about the alleged favouritism towards the media business of then telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran’s brother.

“His (telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran) reputation also became unsavoury as he began using his telecom portfolio to favour his brother Kalanidhi’s media business. I was not sure if Dr Singh had been alerted to this by his officials, but he certainly was by Ratan Tata in early 2007,” Baru has written.

Tata, he claims, had

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