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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Baru's book 'mischievous, unethical' exercise, says PM's daughter

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 15, 2014
First Published: 08:27 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 15:28 IST(15/4/2014)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's eldest daughter has hit out at his former media advisor Sanjaya Baru over his book saying he has betrayed the trust of the PM and "pieced together gossip and unverified quotes".

In an account of his years in the Prime Minister’s Office, The Accidental Prime Minister – The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh, Baru has detailed the complex relationship between the PM and Sonia Gandhi.

Baru has written about the PM's allies and antagonists in the cabinet, exposed the policy battles in the PMO and said there was jostling to give credit to the party instead of the PM for policy initiatives.

Upinder Singh, who teaches history at the University of Delhi, told the Indian Express Baru's book is "nothing but a stab in the back… a huge betrayal of trust" and a "mischievous, unethical" exercise.

"While I am not speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister, we are extremely angry at the exaggerated level of access the author has ascribed to himself," she told the daily.

Her reaction is the first from the family of the Prime Minister.

"It is an audacious account with so-called quotes, of even the Prime Minister, which have been recorded as facts. Reported speech has been used as direct speech. Is this ethical?"

She also questioned the timing as well as the contents of the book as suspect which has said Sonia Gandhi "remote controlled" the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Singh played "second fiddle" to her. 

"The impression I have is that the relation between the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi is one of utmost trust and respect. The book also gives an impression that the Prime Minister wanted to cling to office in his second term. This is such a misreading of his personality," she clarifies.

The PM's daughter said Baru has admitted he nursed a deep sense of resentment after he was not re-inducted into the PMO in 2009.

"If he himself felt betrayed how can he write an objective account? Even if he wants to gain politically by writing such a book everyone will see that he has betrayed the trust of one prime minister. He has provided fodder to his (prime minister's) opponents. Will they trust him now? I would not," she said.

The PMO has also dismissed Baru's claims as "baseless and mischievous".


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