The Accidental Prime Minister
|Published||20 April 2014 (Penguin)|
The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh is a 2014 memoir by Indian policy analyst Sanjaya Baru, who was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's media advisor from May 2004 to August 2008. Published by Penguin India, the book alleges that Singh was not entirely in control of his cabinet—or even the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Instead, significant power was wielded by the Congress party's president Sonia Gandhi, to whom Singh was completely "subservient". "There cannot be two centres of power", Baru remembers Singh explaining to him, "That creates confusion. I have to accept that the party president is the centre of power. The government is answerable to the party."
The PMO released a statement the day The Accidental Prime Minister was released, dismissing the veracity of the memoir, "It is an attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility and to apparently exploit it for commercial gain. The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser." Baru's reply to the PMO's charges was "I am amused." Baru told The Indian Express, "most of the book is positive [about the PM]" and that he wrote it mainly because Singh "has become an object of ridicule, not admiration. I am showing him as a human being, I want there to be empathy for him."
According to The Guardian, "Such an intimate portrait of dysfunction will certainly have political ramifications", especially since India is in the midst of a general election. Spokespersons of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the chief opposition party, posed a series of questions to Singh and Sonia Gandhi on the basis of The Accidental Prime Minister's revelations, "did the PM refuse to take daily briefings from intelligence agencies and did this not have a bearing on our security situation? ... Did the PM forfeit his prerogative to decide on who would be in his cabinet? Was the '2G fame' A Raja appointed at the behest of Sonia Gandhi? Did the PM knowingly overlook corruption by his colleagues as alleged in the book. Did 2G, CWG and Coalgate happened because of this?" In light of the elections, the BJP also promised "We will not give an accidental Prime Minister to this country."
- Sanjaya Baru: Director for Geo-Economics and Strategy. International Institute of Strategic Studies. Retrieved on 12 April 2014.
- John Chalmers. "Ex-adviser says Manmohan Singh was hobbled by Sonia Gandhi". Reuters. 11 April 2014.
- Anu Anand. "Indian PM Manmohan Singh 'not in charge', new book claims". The Guardian. 11 April 2014.
- Praveen Swami, Anita Joshua. "Sanjaya Baru’s book is fiction, says PMO". The Hindu. 12 April 2014.
- Ritu Sarin. "Sanjaya Baru interview: 'I have written only 50% of what I know'". The Indian Express. 12 April 2014.
- "Baru’s book: BJP poser to PM, Sonia". The Hindu. 12 April 2014.
- "We will not give an accidental Prime Minister: BJP". Zee News. 12 April 2014.
- Ohri, Raghav (2017-06-06). "Anupam Kher to play Manmohan Singh in movie based on Sanjoy Baru's book 'The Accidental Prime Minister'". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
- Editorial. "Writing No Wrongs". The Hindu. 16 April 2014.
- Nida Najar. "A Conversation With: Author Sanjaya Baru". The New York Times. 16 April 2014.
- Siddharth Singh. "Book Review: The Accidental Prime Minister". Mint. 17 April 2014.
- Harish Khare. "Bitter Lemon". The Indian Express. 19 April 2014.
- Sushil Aaron. "Review: Sanjaya Baru's book does a favour to history, Congress". Hindustan Times. 7 May 2014
- Madhu Trehan. NL Interviews Sanjaya Baru – Part 1, Part 2. NewsLaundry. Apr 18, 2014.