Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “failure” to be assertive against corruption led to his government’s undoing and “rise” of Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal, according to his former media advisor Sanjaya Baru.
He, however, said, “If he had got serious about tackling corruption, the government would have fallen. There was a lot at stake with allies like the DMK and Sharad Pawar.”
Singh believed that people saw him as an honest person and that the accusations were against other people. “What could I do about it?” Singh was quoted as having told Baru.
“If he had succeeded through UPA 2, there would have been no Arvind Kejriwal. This is a self—made man, who is competent, rose up the ladder to become PM, he is a global statesman and generations of middle class people would have been inspired by his legacy,” he said during a discussion of his book “The Accidental Prime Minister — The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh”, here on Thursday night.
Asked whether he thought Manmohan Singh was the “best polling agent” for Narendra Modi, Baru said, “I certainly think the rise of Modi is directly linked to the decline of this government.”
“I don’t think anybody contests what a very senior BJP leader said to me that what is operating in India now is not the law of politics but the law of physics where a vacuum is created and we are getting sucked into that vaccum,” Baru said.
Baru, who was in the PMO during 2004—08 in UPA—I, said that if Manmohan Singh had quit after Rahul Gandhi had torn the ordinance on convicted lawmakers in September 2013, the UPA government would have collapsed.
He said an analyst known to be close to Rahul Gandhi had written a paper suggesting that the “Prime Minister should go and Rahul Gandhi [should] take over“.
Baru also said he hoped Manmohan Singh will write his own autobiography some day.
When asked whether there was daily “meddling” in the affairs of the government, Baru said, “No there was no daily meddling. I think it is the policy framework. There were many issues where his views were not accepted. “Take LPG subsidy, which is a good example. Singh wanted the LPG subsidy to go but the party did not agree and even Chidambaram did not agree to it.”
About the Prime Minister’s relationship with the National Advisory Commission, Baru said Singh “accepted it as a political necessity.”
In response to a question, Baru said, “The problem with the government is not so much of lack of communication but the lack of credibility. “The UPA 1 government communicated and was believed. In UPA II, it lost its political credibility and once your credibility is gone, it is irrelevant...,” Baru said.
Referring to himself as a “fly on the wall”, Baru said he had written down what he observed just like a reporter and would be happy to take credit if his book inspired others to increase accountability of governments.