Fresh Baru blast: Manmohan hung on as PM despite daughter’s plea to quit

08 May 2014


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daughter wanted Singh to quit following Congress vice-president and scion Rahul Gandhi's public outburst in Mumbai against the union cabinet's attempts to stymie Supreme Court orders debarring convicted politicians, according to further supposed revelations in a book by the PM's former security adviser Sanjay Baru.

Baru, author of the book The Accidental Prime Minister, who was in Mumbai on Wednesday to launch the book, told the media that when the UPA came back to power in 2009, he had on several occasions advised Singh to resign. "Finally, after the incident, I came on television and said he should quit. And I got a SMS (text message) from his daughter, 'I agree with you'."

Vague on details as virtually all books by former Indian bureaucrats and politicians are, Baru failed to specify which of Manmohan Singh's two daughters he was referring to.

He said Manmohan believed the 2009 Lok Sabha victory was his creation. "I had never seen Singh sit cross-legged. But that day (2 June 2009), when I went to meet him, he was sitting cross-legged talking about the victory.

''But no one credited him as the author of that victory. My friend Prithviraj Chavan [Maharashtra's current Chief Minister], whom Singh brought in as minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), told a news channel the credit went to Rahul Gandhi."

"It [the United Progressive Alliance political system] worked for five years. It stopped working for the next five years," he said.

The UPA model of the head of government reporting to the party chief was ''dead'', said Baru.

"Jyoti Basu as chief minister would daily report to the party general secretary Pranab Dasgupta. He stopped after Dasgupta passed away. The only other party where it worked was when Manohar Joshi was chief minister of Maharashtra who reported to Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief," he said, drawing parallels.

He said much more of course, but whether he has helped promote his book by his latest outburst would seem doubtful to most readers.

Nonetheless much damage has been done to the image of PM Singh, particularly as a similar vein written by former coal secretary P C Parakh, which followed within days of Barua's.

Parakh more or less echoes Barua's views, claiming in essence that PM Singh was well-intentioned but hamstrung by his party president Sonia Gandhi and coalition partners.

Parakh, an upright bureaucrat, is under investigation in the coal block allocation scam.


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