Baru compares him
to Bhishma of the Mahabharata, a principled person fighting for the wrong side.
He remained a silent spectator to Draupadi’s humiliation, as did Dr Singh to
his country’s loot and plunder.
Ministers and party
men treated Dr. Manmohan Singh with disdain and sidestepped him whenever
possible. They met and reported directly to Sonia Gandhi instead of the Prime
Minister, thus bypassing the chain of command. For example, Pranab Mukherjee, a
cabinet minister of that era, came back from a foreign trip and did not bother
to update Dr Singh about his trip. Dr Singh apparently felt hurt and humiliated
but could do nothing about it.
circles, it was clearly known that Sonia Gandhi wanted to become the PM or at
least to give the post to a family member, but historical circumstances did not
allow her to do so at the time. Therefore she picked out Dr. Manmohan Singh, a
receptive, compliant personality. Baru realized quite early on that all
successes were to be attributed to the Gandhi family and all failures and
mistakes to the Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi was in the coveted position of
absolute authority with no responsibility.
Baru had previously worked in Financial Express and Economic Times. He belonged
to a cartel of journalists and other key people like politicians, diplomats, business
leaders and thinkers, etc who had a leaning towards the Congress Party. This
group had fixed and archaic notions about the class of elitists in whose hands
the governance of the country should rest. Any deviation from this fixed notion
was frowned upon and criticized deeply. Newcomers were considered upstarts and
denied entry into this club.
Baru refers to the
writings of communist ideologue Mohit Sen, encouraging Sonia Gandhi to take the
mantle of president of the party in the same way that a European lady, Annie
Besant, was the first woman president of the Indian National Congress.
This ideology of
placing the Nehru – Gandhi family on a pedestal is clearly evident in the
following excerpt of the book:
“I assumed that
Mohit, as an Indira loyalist, had a special regard for her heirs. But his
opinion that Sonia should enter politics was also based on his conviction that
without a Nehru-Gandhi family member at the top, the Congress party would
splinter and wither away. This view was also encouraged by members of the Delhi
durbar—a ‘power elite’, to use sociologist C. Wright Mill’s term, comprising
civil servants, diplomats, editors, intellectuals and business leaders who had
worked with or been close to the regimes of Nehru, Indira and Rajiv. Some of
them inhabited the many trusts and institutions that the Nehru-Gandhi family
controlled. They had all profited in one way or another, over the years, from
their loyalty to the Congress’s ‘first family”.
Baru shows us that
Sonia Gandhi controlled everything. To keep herself in the clear, she
formulated the NAC which imposed welfare schemes upon the UPA government. It weakened the exchequer and shook up the
economy in a bad way.