Manmohan feared being replaced by 'pro-Left' prime minister

Manmohan feared being replaced by 'pro-Left' prime minister

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had constantly assumed during his tenure that the Left might try  to replace him with a ''pro-Left'' prime minister, writes his former media advisor Sanjaya Baru in his book ''The Accidental Prime Minister''.

In the book, which has been in controversy for the timing of its release and the details it contains, Baru also claims the CPM did try to dislodge him  in July 2008, just before it severed ties with the Congress. 

“Singh had to constantly live with the assumption that the Left might try this tactic once again, securing his ouster and having him replaced by either a Bengali (Pranab Mukherjee) or a Malayalee (A K Antony), to win brownie points in the two states where it needed to bolster its presence,” says Baru.

He has explained the tactic in the preceding paragraph. “He (Singh) was aware of the role the CPM had played in all coalition governments it had supported 1977 onwards in unseating prime ministers. It had helped eject Morarji Desai and bring in Charan Singh in 1979, defending this on ideological grounds. A pro-business prime minister had been replaced by a peasant leader,” writes Baru.

“In 1990, the Left played a similar role, helping Chandra Shekhar displace Janata Dal leader V P Singh as prime minister. In 1997, it once again played a part in ousting H D Deve Gowda, the prime minister installed in 1996, and propping up I K Gujral,” the book points out.

The book also says Arjun Singh tried to woo the Left with his political posturing, but it never really trusted him.

If the account is to be believed, the perceived threat was not unreal.

 “When the Left finally withdrew support from the government in July 2008, it tried till the very last to get Sonia to save the government by dumping Singh and replacing him with a ‘pro-Left’ prime minister,” says the book.

However, Baru claims that Singh's credibility failed the Left in its efforts.

“Karat failed where his predecessors had succeeded, because by July 2008, Singh’s personal credibility and his standing as prime minister had reached such heights that the Congress would have been grievously wounded if Sonia had dumped Singh to please the Left and retain power,” says the former media adviser.

Baru also claims that the Left was willing to join the government, and there was a rumour of CPM leader Sitaram Yechury becoming rail minister.

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