New Delhi, April 25 IANS | 5 months ago

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's former media adviser Sanjaya Baru Friday maintained that "no one has questioned facts" in his controversial new book that portrays the prime minister's position as being undermined by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.


Speaking to journalists at the Indian Women's Press Corps here, Baru, whose book "The Accidental Prime Minister - The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh" has kicked up a political storm with its revelations, declined to comment on the criticism of the book by the prime minister's daughter, Upinder Singh.

Maintaining that the book was based on "my perspective of what happened, and is subjective", he said he had not been contacted by either Manmohan Singh, to whom he had sent a personal copy, or even Gandhi, after the book was released earlier this month.

Baru said he was driven to writing the book, after resisting initial offers by Penguin, in 2012 when he was dismayed by the jokes circulating about the prime minister.

"In 2012 I changed my mind. Somebody had to stand up and defend this man.. People were making jokes about him on Twitter," he said.

The Prime Minister's Office has slammed the book saying it smacks of "fiction" and is a "coloured" view. It has also rubbished as "baseless and mischievous" the claim that PMO files were seen by Gandhi.

Asked about it, Baru said he has nowhere written that PMO files were taken to Gandhi by the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Pulok Chatterjee. "I have written that he briefed her.. I never said files were taken to her. I stand by that," he said.

"What I have written are facts," he said, and added: "Facts as I recognize them."

He said while the 2004 victory of the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-I was a mandate for Sonia Gandhi, in his view the 2009 victory was a mandate for Manmohan Singh.

He reiterated what he has written in the book, that the "biggest mistake" by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not to fight the Lok Sabha election in 2009. "If he had become a political head, the UPA-II would have been stronger," he added.

(Posted on 25-04-2014)

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