The Accidental Prime Minister, a movie based on the book with the same name has completely exposed the Congress party and Gandhi family. The audience comes across many facts and incidents in the movie which remained either veiled or were not bothered to be explored. However, the top 5 incidents from the movie which deserve mentioning are as follow-
1. Manmohan shuns Naveen Patnaik
Naveen Patnaik, the incumbent chief minister of Odisha goes to Manmohan Singh asking for special package. As the movie shows, Patnaik asks for a special package like Bihar but PM denies in rather an undignified way. The sentence used in the movie is ‘paise ped pe thodi ugate hai’ (Money is not free) and it very well shows how Congress government treated parties which were not its allies. On the other hand, Bihar got the special package because the ruling party in the state, RJD was an ally of the UPA. Odisha was denied the same despite the fact that socio-economic conditions of both states were almost the same in the early 2000s. The Congress party at centre always behaved in an autocratic manner and humiliated the state governments. Back in the 1960s and 70s, Indira Gandhi had also dismissed many popularly elected non-Congress governments for no specific reasons.
2. PV Narasimha Rao disrespected
PV Narasimha Rao, one of the greatest prime ministers of India died in December 2004. His family wanted the body to be cremated at Rajghat in New Delhi. Generally, the top political leaders of the country get the place at Rajghat but Sonia Gandhi personally ensured that Rao’s dead body does not get the same treatment. Moreover, in Delhi, his body was not even allowed inside All India Congress Committee building despite his lifelong service to the Congress party.
3. Sonia’s loyal courtiers
Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the then Congress President Sonia Gandhi wielded too much influence in the government. He had direct access to the Prime Minister’s office as well as Prime Minister himself despite having any position in the government. He is seen talking to PM in a language which he did not deserve to be dealt with. Patel goes on to undermine the sanctity of almost every constitutional position. In the movie, he is referred to as the ‘voice of Sonia Gandhi’.
In another instance, Singh wanted to keep the finance ministry with himself but later ‘high command’ confirmed the appointment of P Chidambaram to the position and PM’s wish to contribute with his expertise in economics got shattered.
Another loyal man and bureaucrat, Pulok Chatterji, is seen giving an authorized list of bureaucrats to PM Singh. Constitutionally, it is completely a prerogative of the PM to appoint the top bureaucratic positions but in UPA government nothing of that sort seemed to be happening.
4. The entitlement of Rahul Gandhi
There have been made many important but not shocking revelations about Rahul Gandhi in the ‘Accidental Prime Minister’. Rahul was about to take over as prime minister but could not do as back to back scams had shaken the government. Manmohan was again made the sacrificial lamb. The Congress party did not want Rahul Gandhi to lead a tainted government and therefore he was shielded till 2014 Lok Sabha election when finally Manmohan decided to bid adieu. Moreover, as per the movie, Rahul Gandhi gets uninterrupted access to the prime minister and does not even bother to seek an appointment.
5. How Sonia Gandhi bypassed the PMO
The National Advisory Council (NAC), an advisory body set up by the UPA government to advise the prime minister of India, ran almost a parallel government in the country. A prime minister who was well educated and respected in the political circle seldom needed Sonia’s advice. The NAC was the brainchild of erstwhile Congress President Sonia Gandhi who used the NAC to supersede the decisions taken by Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet. In a nasty show of power and connivance, the NAC rendered Manmohan Singh and the Cabinet powerless. The number of scams that emerged in UPA-II hence can also be attributed to the NAC decisions of which could even not be overturned by Manmohan Singh himself.
‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ reveals an open secret that the power was with the Congress President than Mr. Singh. The book alleges Manmohan of not being able to control even his own Cabinet. The files meant to get the PMO’s nod actually landed at 10 Janpath.
The Accidental Prime Minister shows how constitutional positions were undermined to satisfy the ego of a ‘party’ and more of a ‘family’ and how the ambition of a single family was being given more prominence than the ‘National Interest’.