In 2014, a book by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser Sanjaya Baru, The Accidental Prime Minister, had created a storm with its damning claims on the equation between the PM and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and the crippling effect it had on governance.
“I have to come to terms with this. There cannot be two centres of power. That creates confusion. I have to accept that the party president is the centre of power,” Baru had quoted Singh. It clearly suggested that the PM had virtually surrendered his authority to the political bosses – Sonia and her son Rahul.
The book suggested that the PM “turned a blind eye” to the alleged corruption charges against his ministers in the government.
Now a report in The New Indian Express (TNIE) suggests that the Centre has decided to make 710 files of the NAC led by Sonia Gandhi during the UPA government, public.
The report said the files “provide a glimpse of the ecosystem that exercised absolute power with no accountability over the government between 2004 and 2014 and reveal the influence the NAC, formed under the chairmanship of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, exercised on policy-making in coal, power, disinvestment, real estate, governance, social and industrial sectors.”
The files showed Manmohan Singh-led PMO and the UPA government had little choice but to implement suggestions of the NAC.
The NAC wrote to ministers, summoned them and sought compliance reports.
File N.11012/2/2014-NAC (dated February 25) showed that Sonia’s NAC was taking up various agendas and sending the government recommendations.
The BJP had described the constitution of NAC by the UPA government as “unconstitutional” and said there was no provision in the Constitution for such a body.
The BJP had also alleged that it appeared that the way the Congress ministers are showing all the important files to Gandhi, she was acting like a ‘Super Prime Minister’, side-stepping Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, especially in the media.
Members of NAC – II:
Sonia Gandhi – Chairperson
Mihir Shah – Member, Planning Commission
Narendra Jadhav – former bureaucrat & Member, Planning Commission
Ashis Mondal – Director of Action for Social Advancement (ASA)
Prof. Pramod Tandon – Vice Chancellor, North Eastern Hill University
Deep Joshi – Social activist
Farah Naqvi – Social activist
Dr. N. C. Saxena – former bureaucrat
Anu Aga – Businessperson
A. K. Shiva Kumar – Economist
Mirai Chatterjee – Coordinator, SEWA, Ahmedabad
Virginius Xaxa – Deputy Director, TISS, Guwahati Campus
The members who served on the NAC and later resigned were:
Aruna Roy – former bureaucrat
Prof. M.S. Swaminathan – Agricultural scientist and MP
Yogendra Yadav – political commentator
Dr. Ram Dayal Munda – MP
Jean Dreze – Development economist
Harsh Mander – former Bureaucrat
Madhav Gadgil – Ecologist
Jayaprakash Narayan (Lok Satta)- Former Bureaucrat