Voices Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| April 11, 2014| 7.45 pm IST He was handpicked by the Prime Minister to be his media adviser. Sanjaya Baru’s book- Manmohan Singh: The Accidental Prime Minister, published just during election season has already created ripples in political circles. Sanjaya Baru, a senior editor, was the PM’s media adviser from 2004 to 2008. The Prime Minister’s office was quick to rubbish the book. New media advisor Pankaj Pachauri saying there are many things fictional in the book. The many revelations, claims made in the book- Many senior cabinet ministers did not find it necessary to brief the Prime Minister. Baru speaks of a specific instance when Pranab Mukherjee, then External Affairs Minister, after a US trip briefed Sonia Gandhi, but did not brief Manmohan Singh for three days. Vayalar Ravi, A K Antony and other senior ministers used to give the PM a tough time. Baru says that the Congress, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in particular, were made to get all the credit for NREGA, Bharat Nirman and other programmes. The PM in some occasions has been unhappy about it says Baru. The constitution of the national advisory council (NAC) was to reaffirm Sonia Gandhi’s authority over the government says Baru.Pranab Mukherjee was given the finance portfolio without even consulting the Prime Minister. Sanjaya Baru says in the book that the Prime Minister had once told him that there cannot be two centres of power.Baru says Manmohan Singh had a comfortable working relationship with Chidambaram, but Pranab Mukherjee would not even show him the draft of the budget speech. The Prime Minister was incorruptible, but could never take responsibility for others who indulged in corruption says Baru in the book. He adds that if UPA had lost in 2009, he felt the entire blame would have put on the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was reluctant to take A Raja and T R Baalu of the DMK in his cabinet in 2009, but his resistance did not go beyond a day.