Sonia, the Puppeteer, Manmohan, the Puppet: Sanjaya Baru

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by thakur_ritesh, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    NEW DELHI: After the Congress's electoral victory in 2009, PM Manmohan Singh made "the cardinal mistake of imagining the victory was his. Bit by bit, in the space of a few weeks he was defanged. He thought he could induct the ministers he wanted. Sonia nipped that hope in the bud by offering the finance portfolio to Pranab (Mukherjee), without even consulting him," reveals a new book. Singh had apparently been keen to appoint his principal economic adviser C Rangarajan, "the comrade with whom he had battled the balance of payments crisis of 1991-92", as finance minister.

    The author, Sanjaya Baru, who was media adviser to the PM in UPA-1, claims that when it seemed the Congress would cave in to the Left on the nuclear deal with the US, a dejected Singh told a couple of confidants, "She (Sonia) has let me down." And he adds that Pulok Chatterjee, who served in the PMO in UPA-1 and is now principal secretary to the PM, would have "regular, almost daily meetings with Sonia Gandhi in which he was said to brief her... and seek her instructions on the important files to be cleared by the PM."

    The PM seemed to have had little authority over his own Cabinet. "No one in Singh's council of ministers seemed to feel that he owed his position, rank or portfolio to him. The final word always was that of leaders of the parties constituting the UPA," says the book. It adds that Singh often faced challenges while dealing with senior Congress ministers like Arjun Singh, A K Antony and the "presumed PM-in-waiting" Pranab Mukherjee. "Each had a mind of his own and each was conscious of his political status and rank".

    According to Baru, Congress MPs "did not see loyalty to the PM as a political necessity, nor did Dr Singh seek loyalty in the way. Sonia and her aides sought it."

    For years, Singh's stoic silence has made him the target of many unkind remarks. But the secrecy shrouding his functioning — and his relationship with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi — has now been breached by a man he had handpicked. While offering the job to Baru, Singh had requested him to be "his eyes and ears". Ten years on, Baru has chosen to exercise his voice — and it couldn't have come at a worse time for the Congress.

    Baru's book, 'The Accidental Prime Minister' paints a picture of a PM who decided to "surrender" to the party boss and the UPA allies. According to Baru, Sonia's "renunciation of power was more a political tactic than a response to a higher calling".

    Predictably, the book has already evoked sharp responses. The PM's current media advisor, Pankaj Pachauri, dismissed the book "as an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gains. The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of the former advisor". A later statement issued by the PMO said, "It is categorically denied that any PMO file has ever been shown to Shrimati Sonia Gandhi. The statement is...completely baseless and mischievous." Baru's response was a pithy, "I am amused. All I can say is that the statement could have been drafted better."

    Much of what Baru — who served between 2004 and 2008 — has written has been long heard on the Capital's political grapevine, but this is the first time an insider has spilled the beans quite so candidly. On the question of a 'diarchy' or two power centres, Baru says there was no such confusion in Singh's mind. He quotes Singh as having told him, "I have to accept that the party president is the centre of power. The government is answerable to the party."

    According to Baru, Singh shared a good working equation with finance minister P Chidambaram in UPA-I. He would insist that Chidambaram sit with him and finalize the budget speech. In contrast, his relationship with Pranab Mukherjee was far more formal. Mukherjee would apparently not even show Singh the draft of the budget speech till he had finished writing it.

    The book also claims that Singh had tried to resist the induction of DMK's A Raja well before the 2G scam became public knowledge. "But after asserting himself for a full twenty-four hours, (he) caved in to pressure from both his own party and the DMK."

    Baru claims that there was an eagerness to claim all social development programmes as the Sonia Gandhi-chaired National Advisory Council's initiatives, even though the Bharat Nirman programme came out of the PMO — drafted by the late R Gopalakrishnan, who was joint secretary.

    He also claims that on September 26, 2007 — Manmohan Singh's 75th birthday — Rahul Gandhi led a delegation of general secretaries to wish him. Rahul wanted to extend NREGA to all 500 rural districts in the country. Baru sent a text message to a journalist that this was the PM's birthday gift to the country. When he was summoned by the PM, he apparently told Singh, "You and Raghuvansh Prasad (then minister for rural development) deserve as much credit." The PM snapped: "I do not want any credit for myself... Let them take all the credit. I don't need it. I am only doing my work."

    The book also reveals that Singh had threatened to quit if the UPA buckled under Left pressure and had told Sonia Gandhi to look for his replacement. Even as rumours circulated that Pranab Mukherjee or Sushil Kumar Shinde might be considered as his replacement, the NCP backed him, with Praful Patel telling Baru they would not support anyone but "Doctor Saheb".

    Sonia then reportedly asked Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, to convince the PM not to resign. She also visited Singh at his residence with Pranab Mukherjee. The government was then allowed to proceed with the deal.


    However, such shows of resolve from Singh were not forthcoming in UPA-II. Baru cites his own case when the PM wanted to reappoint him as a secretary in the PMO in 2009. However, he had to drop the plan as he was told that the party was opposed to such a move. "To tell the truth, I was dismayed by the PM's display of spinelessness," writes Baru.

    Sonia chose finance minister without consulting Manmohan, gave instructions on key files: Book - The Times of India
     
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  3. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    I have always wondered, did this man never ever feel humiliated all this time. He was the PM of the country, but the Congress HC and the whole party per se never treated him no more than a door keeper to safe guard the image of the chair he was on.

    The only time he acted as a PM was on the nuclear deal and even there his bargaining position was that he would resign else he gets to have what he wants, once he hit that, he never again had a position to bargain for. You never build your clout like that, nor ever bargain from such a position. And the lady said a yes only because of the PM's image those days in the eyes of the public at large, and the impending elections. He was regarded as Mr clean, a good man who struggled his way ahead with all the muck around, amongst all the crooks around. Congress was just cashing on his image, and today, His Highness Shri Rahul Gandhi feels, the bad image of the Congress is all the doing of the PM, just how ironic!

    I have bolded the Pranab Mukherjee part on purpose so that all those in denial and a lot of these are those who support the BJP and Pranab Mukherjee in particular, this is how the country functions. PM was hardly ever consulted on the choice of the FM, to the FM being absolutely single minded, to him never ever consulting the PM, and a lot that we face today economically is thanks to that man, and the lady. Baru did not reflect on the period beyond 2009, else we would have also got a sense on how once Pranab was given a more honourable exit, madam and Pranab together checkmated Chidu and the PM, and once that was done, these two were again not allowed to have their way. But then the PMO and the new FM did not allow Pranab to run away without taking his share of the blame for the mess created.

    This goes on to show just how smart the Gandhis are, with Manmohan as the PM, it was a master stroke, they had a puppet who would take all the blame, Sonia, the puppeteer, who pulled all the strings, the de-facto PM, but who never assumed the responsibility that came along, and this time when their party is sure to lose, they are not ready to name Rahul as the PM candidate because otherwise the image of the lullaby baby would see irreparable damage, but then, they are ready to put all the blame on the PM for their own failings.

    Manmohan Singh's biggest blunder was that he readily accepted the second term, never should he have. Was it because of the loyalty, or the greed, or a result of a habit of never saying a no to the madam. And the irony, if tomorrow Congress needs more such puppets, there will be many willing candidates. The reason I say, after a wait of ten years, and if Modi gets to be the PM, good or bad, but at least India will get to have a PM at last!
     
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  4. archie

    archie Regular Member

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    PMO will have its sanctity restored after a decade with a verdict against congress.
     
  5. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    I jumped in to post this NEWS at DFI but TR saar you were quicker.

    If it looks like a stamp and behave like a stamp; its Manmohan Singh, the official Sonia Gandhi poodle.

    What a bunch of shameless breed these congress-I leaders are; pretending so high on moral and ethics everyday on TV channels but were running this nation from Sonia Ghandi's bedroom.

    How dare this women Sonia Ghandi cleared PMO files ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  6. Simple_Guy

    Simple_Guy Regular Member

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    Whatever. At least the truth is coming out.
     
  7. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    I wonder who runs the Country ??? CIA or Italian Mafia..... or Arms dealers ??

    There were views in the forum that Bureacrates can not bypass the minister....

    Here is one of the thousand examples how bureaucrates even bypass the PM of the country.....

    Where is the accountability ... Party president or a bureaucrate is not accountable so how can they be so powerfull to make decision on government business without being constitutionally accountable... ??

    Auranjeb Ki Mughalai Chal Rahi Hai... Then why on earth this country has a Constitution...
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
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  8. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Is it legal for Sonia Gandhi or even Rahul Gandhi to have viewed confidential/top secret documents as she has not taken oath as Minister ?
     
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  9. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    This was a well known fact, but now it is in black and white.

    A most unfortunate situation and a disgraceful way the Congress party has reduced the nation to be the personal preserve of this distasteful family, which has reduced this country to the level of a banana republic in every form.

    MMS too has to shoulder the blame. Why was he such a doormat? Why did he allow his reputation of a good economist, leave the chair having had his nose rubbed in the mud. Is Power, pelf and perks such a allurement?
     
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  11. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

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    You just can't mess withthe boss. .
     
  12. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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  13. ninja85

    ninja85 Regular Member

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    forgot to mention corrupt.:rofl::lol::laugh:
     
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  14. archie

    archie Regular Member

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    Will this put pressure on sonia for the coal scam.. ?? this should imply sonia was calling the shots of allotment .. hope the truth comes out
     
  15. laughingbuddha

    laughingbuddha Regular Member

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    It implies that sonia was definitely in the loop and probably calling the shots. Lets see what the cong spin doctors say.
     
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  16. archie

    archie Regular Member

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    Hope media starts to make connections and ask questions
     
  17. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Sanjaya Baru's tell all memoir about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 'sold out' on Flipkart, Amazon

    Sanjaya Baru's tell all memoir about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 'sold out' on Flipkart, Amazon | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis




    Sanjaya Baru's book “The Accidental Prime minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh” has been surrounded by a flurry of controversy ever since its release this month. However there is no questioning the book's demand by the public [/SIZE]as all hard copies have been sold out off e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon.

    The book was written as a memoir of Baru's experiences as the Prime Minister's press advisor during his first as Prime Minister. The book calls out Manmohan Singh on a number of issues. For example, Baru refers to how Singh relied on 'active morality' for himself and 'passive morality for others', he himself being incorruptible and yet extending a somewhat more lenient stance towards others. This with particular reference to DMK Minister A Raja involvement in the 2G scam where according to Baru, Singh's moral ambivalence did not cost him earlier, but over a period of time, by UPA-2, cost him with respect to his public image.

    Another aspect of Singh's career Baru calls out is his Singh's cardinal mistake that the 2009 victory of the party was a product of his own merit as opposed to Sonia Gandhi.

    Further on he also claims how Sonia Gandhi made sure that Pulok Chatterjee, the Principal Secretary who was a primary choice of Gandhi was asked to have daily meeting with her in order to discuss key policy issues.

    However, a disclaimer of sorts in the book's introduction that quotes Sharda Prasad, “I do not know everything that happened in the PMO. Not only do i not know all sides of the truth I do not how many sides the book has.”

    The book was poorly received by the Prime Minister's Office. Pankaj Pachauri, the PM's current media adviser, as being an abuse of his position for commercial gain. He also went so far as to call Baru's efforts a reflection of his own coloured and fictionalised opinion.

    But, in a statement that is rather contradictory to the book, his introduction does include a statement in acclaim of Singh, “He (Manmohan Singh) remains not just a good man but in the final analysis also a good prime minister”.

    The book has released amidst an already tense environment as the Congress faces one of uts toughest elections to date. Yet, despite varying opinions over the book's and by extension Baru's credibility, the public has responded brilliantly, atleast in terms of sales figures. the book remains available as an eBook on Flipkart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  18. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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  19. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Who is Sanjaya Baru ??

    Sanjaya Baru | IISS


    Sanjaya Baru

    Director for Geo-Economics and Strategy
    2 @barugaru

    Expertise:
    •Economics
    •South Asia

    Background: Dr Sanjaya Baru has joined the Institute as Director for Geo-economics and Strategy, leading a recently inaugurated research programme devoted to analysis of the interplay between economics and geopolitics at the global level. Dr Baru previously served as Editor of the leading Indian financial newspaper The Business Standard. From May 2004 until August 2008 he was the Official Spokesman and Media Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. Prior to his official appointment, he was the Chief Editor of The Financial Express. He has also been the Associate Editor of The Economic Times and The Times of India. He served as a Consulting Senior fellow of the IISS from September 2008. He is one of India’s most respected and influential commentators on political and economic issues.

    Dr Sanjaya Baru has been a Professor at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi, and a Member of India's National Security Advisory Board in the Prime Minister's Office. He is the author of Strategic Consequences of India's Economic Performance, which was launched in the UK at the IISS in April 2007, and The Political Economy of Indian Sugar (1990). He has also published extensively on economic and strategic policy in India and abroad.

    Contact Sanjaya Baru


    Joined IISS: September 2008

    Publications

    Strategic Consequences of India’s Economic Performance: Essays and Columns (Routledge, London, 2007)

    Political Economy of Indian Sugar (Oxford University Press, 1990)

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  20. pkroyal

    pkroyal Regular Member

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    Old Ms Muffet ( Sonia)
    Sat on a puppet ( Manmohan)
    Having her cake & eating it too ( power without responsibility)
    There came BJP & shouted boo!!
    Now Ms Muffet's game is up
    No one follows her like a pup
    Lonely & forsaken with none to talk to
     
  21. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Damning Indictment

    Sanjaya Baru’s account of dual authority within UPA is a plausible explanation of what went wrong


    Throughout the ten years of UPA rule Congress president Sonia Gandhi heaped praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his vision, leadership qualities and personal integrity. The latter, in turn, sometimes went to an embarrassing extent to return the compliment. But in Delhi’s incestuous circle of senior politicians, bureaucrats and media persons, hardly anyone doubted that this mutual back-scratching was an elaborate charade.
    What Sanjaya Baru – who served as media adviser to Manmohan Singh in the UPA-I regime – has done in his book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ is to say aloud what many others have been murmuring beneath their breath. Namely that the Congress president used her political secretary, Ahmed Patel, and her chosen loyalists in the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet to call the shots in matters ranging from the appointment of individuals to positions of power and influence to interference in the formulation and implementation of government policies.
    If Sonia Gandhi emerges in Baru’s memoirs as a suave if manipulative figure behind the scenes, Manmohan Singh comes out as a victim. One of the few occasions when he asserted himself was when he threatened to put in his papers if he wasn’t allowed to get the Indo-US nuclear deal through. Otherwise, he suffered one setback after another with stoicism. Senior ministers bypassed his authority and colleagues in PMO were at each other’s throats in official meetings. And for all the acclaim he received for his spotless character, he was unable to check the government’s slide into a quagmire of sleaze. So here was a Congress president who exercised power without responsibility, took credit for such successes as UPA was able to achieve and by that token attributed – often furtively – its failures to the executive. The result? A near-complete subversion of the Cabinet system.
    This is no doubt a damning indictment of UPA. The timing of the book’s publication, coming as it is during Lok Sabha polls, will certainly raise eyebrows. Some will even see in it an attempt to settle personal scores. The PMO’s statement that the author has misused his privileged position and access to high office and peddled ‘fiction’ and ‘coloured views’ for commercial gain is only to be expected and must be seen in this context. But Baru hasn’t breached any law. His faults, if any, can only be attributed to journalistic legerdemain.
     

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