‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ – Book review

‘Accidental Prime Minister’, written by Sanajaya Baru, formal media adviser to Manmohan Singh, contrary to what the media portrayed or even what the title suggests, is not a scathing attack on the UPA-1 government or even showing our erstwhile prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in bad light. In fact, it gives us a window into the workings of PMO and provides an insight into the working style of Dr. Singh. For all the shortcomings of UPA-2, for which he was ostracized and held responsible, the image of Manmohan Singh had hit its nadir. As he rightly said, during his last days as PM that history will judge him more kindly, this book offers some of that history. It highlights his role in managing the coalition (with the difficult communists) in spite of being totally helpless at times. The details behind the pulling of the nuclear deal is the highlight of the book and the fact that Dr. Singh’s role was instrumental in it is unknown to many (or maybe that is what the party wanted). The book clearly calls out that Manmohan Singh had accepted that there were 2 centers of power.


I particularly liked the details of how the PMO works, what all goes behind the formulation of policies, the role that bureaucrats play, the conflict of interest between the government and the party, the importance of media and of course the politics behind all this. My respect for Manmohan Singh has only increased post reading this book. He was the right man in the wrong place.


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