New Delhi, May 8 :
If Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had quit last year when Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi publicly trashed the ordinance to save convicted legislators from disqualification, the UPA government would have “collapsed”, said the prime minister’s former media advisor Sanjaya Baru Thursday.
Baru, whose book “The Accidental Prime Minister – The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh” has become a bestseller, also said that the Rahul Gandhi incident in September last year “did not come on its own”, adding that “there was talk in the air on the need for change”.
Baru had at the time come on television to say that the prime minister should quit in the wake of the “insulting” remarks by Gandhi and that he must apologise to the prime minister.
According to Baru, at that time “a lot of people were lobbying for change (in leadership) and seeking change”. The prime minister was “aware of the developments”, he said.
During the time an “expert” who was close to Gandhi had written a paper for the United Progressive Alliance saying that “Rahul Gandhi should take over and Manmohan Singh should go”, Baru said at the event organised by Penguin Books India.
Baru also clarified that nowhere in his book has he said that PMO files were taken to Congress president Sonia Gandhi by the Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee. “I have not said that.. I said that she was briefed, and briefing does not mean showing the files.”
“There is a fundamental difference.. to be made aware of policy decisions and to show files, that would be breach of the Official Secrets Act,” he added.
Answering criticism that he had falsely attempted to show he was very close to the top powers and privy to all goings on, Baru said he had written the facts down “like a reporter”. “This is what I saw. I was reporting what I knew. I was a fly on the wall often. The book is a view of the fly on the wall,” he said.
Baru also said that Manmohan Sigh has not contacted him after the book’s release, and added that he hoped the prime minister writes his autobiography.
The Prime Minister’s Office has slammed the book saying it smacks of “fiction” and is a “coloured” view.