Sonia Gandhi called shots on appointments, policies: Arun Maira in his book

After books by a former media adviser to the PM and a top bureaucrat, a member of the outgoing Planning Commission has added grist to the mill saying it was Sonia Gandhi who called the shots on all appointments and policies of UPA governments.

PTI| Updated: May 13, 2014, 23:58 PM IST

New Delhi: After books by a former media adviser to the Prime Minister and a top bureaucrat, a member of the outgoing Planning Commission has added grist to the mill saying it was Sonia Gandhi who called the shots on all appointments and policies of UPA governments.

"Sonia Gandhi chose not to become Prime Minister when she led the party to a stunning victory in the national elections in 2004. Instead, she anointed a loyal technocrat, Dr Manmohan Singh, as prime minister, while she has called the shots on all important appointments and policies," Planning Commission Member Arun Maira has written in his book titled `Redesigning the Aeroplane While Flying-Reforming Institutions`.

He further elaborated in the book: "Now her son Rahul Gandhi is being called upon to do his dynastic duty and lead the Congress party.

"Unfortunately, many other Indian political parties have also adopted similar autocratic and dynastic structures."

Maira regretted that sixty years after independence India`s governance structures retain elements of the British Government of India like civil services and "monarchical political parties in place of the British monarchy".

Talking to the reporters after releasing his book at function here, Maira admitted that there was policy paralysis in the country and the the situation has been bothering the investors, industrialists and citizens.
Earlier, Sanjay Baru, a former media adviser to the Prime Minister, in his book `The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh` said that Singh was "defanged" by the Congress party in UPA-II with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi deciding on key appointments to the Cabinet and to the Prime Minister`s Office.

Similarly, former coal secretary P C Parakh in his book `Crusader or Conspirator Coalgate and other Truths` said Singh was heading a government in which he had "little" political authority.
Maira said he was "unexpectedly" invited by the Prime Minister to serve as a member of the Planning Commission in 2009.

Singh had asked him to consider how the organisation could be reformed to become a "system reforms commission" and "an essay in persuasion" as it should be, rather than the "budget-allocating, plan-formulating and target-setting organisation it has become".

"In these four years, I have looked into India`s progress through the lens of `system reforms`as the Prime Minister asked me to do, and I have also struggled mightily to change the ways in which Planning Commission itself functions," he wrote in the Preface of the book.

Maira said when institutions in their present forms can not provide the satisfactions, they must be reformed. The inability of Indian institutions of governance to change adequately has resulted in the growing decline of citizens` trust in them. Reform of institutions has become imperative, he added.

"However when these institutions begin to change, we fear the loss of stability in their existing order has provided. So we resist the change, even though we want change," he said.