If you are regular to news debate, then one could hardly miss the newly launched book The Accidental Prime Minister : The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh by Sanjaya Baru. It has created an uproar. Congress vehemently refuting the content of the book and mercilessly criticizing Sanjaya Baru, the former media adviser of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in UPA 1.
I was itching to read the book ever since I got to know about it. So finally I purchased the book from Amazon India during Amazon Happy Hours Deal @ Rs 2,99.
There is a general perception about the book that it will further tarnish the already beaten reputation of Manmohan Singh. But after reading the book, I can say that it is nothing like that. Sanjaya Baru continue to be loyal towards his former boss and through this book has tried to lift his downtrodden image.
Manmohan Singh, in first term of his office was projected as a weak Prime Minister by opposition and Sonia Gandhi was the real power behind the facade.
Well the author doesn’t agree that Manmohan Singh was a weak Prime Minister. In fact he goes on to say in his book, “No Congress leader, including Sonia and Rahul can match his unique combination of personal integrity, administrative experience, international stature and political appeal across a wide swathe of public opinion.”
He, to some extend has asserted himself as the leader of the government. It was largely due to his image that Congress has got a second chance in the government. But like my father-in-law says that Manmohan is a good prime minister but does not know how to showcase his achievement. As a consequence, all good work credit was taken by Sonia and Rahul and all the mistakes and blames came in Manmohan’s account.
The author is full of praise for Manmohan Singh. But this did not prevented him to pin point the fallacies of Manmohan’s leadership which led to his loose control over his cabinet ministers. In fact he kept his praise and criticism balanced. Never went over the board. I think this is the best thing about the book which makes it unbiased.
Sanjaya Baru clearly states, ”No one in Dr Singh’s council of ministers seemed to feel that he owed his position, rank or portfolio to PM”. All their loyalties was towards Sonia Gandhi and even the junior ministers use to throw their weight just because they were close to the party leader Sonia.
I was curious to know why Sanjaya Baru titled his book The Accidental Prime Minister. Well after huge opposition both from within the party and outside, Sonia Gandhi gave up the prime minister’s chair citing her inner voice which the author analyses as a well thought political tactic.
She clearly ruled out the dominating senior Congress leaders like Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh and instead choose the more docile yet efficient Manmohan Singh.
The scenario became such that Manmohan Singh got all the responsibility and the power was retain by Sonia. Manmohan was asked to govern but all the authority lies with Sonia Gandhi.
Through out the book, the author has analysed many facts and reasons which has taken such a severe beating to the reputation of Manmohan who is the most efficient and incorruptible politician of contemporary politics.
The author has written in details about his relation with other ministers and dignitaries. He has tough time handling senior ministers like Pranab Mukherjee, Arjun Singh and AK Antony and of course Left.
The book has a very slow and boring start. But don’t give up. It takes off excellently after a couple of chapters and there is no looking back. The book becomes very interesting to read and unputdownable.
I must congratulate Sanjaya Baru to write such an excellent and unbiased book. More such books should be written.
The one who are keen politics follower will simply love The Accidental Prime Minister. But even casual readers will also find the book very engrossing and with election going on can easily relate to it as well.
In this election, politicians has massively used social media to reach people, as it has been discussed in details by Shaili Chopra in her new book The Big Connect, few could remain aloof by this great Indian political festival. In such a case, The Accidental Prime Ministers becomes a must read book of election 2014.