the handicap that his own service had never regarded him as one of its bright sparks”. The book has made many a critical comment on Sonia Gandhi’s domination over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As the election fever grips the nation now, the book is likely to sell like a hot cake. Prime Minister’s Office on Friday reacted sharply and issued a statement saying that the book is an “attempt to misuse a privileged position and access to high office to gain credibility to apparently exploit it for commercial gain.” The statement further said: “The commentary smacks of fiction and coloured views of a former adviser.”
Baru in his book says that most principal secretaries have been extremely capable men, well regarded by their peers and respected by their subordinates, but “every now and then, a nondescript official of limited talent has also adorned that job,” as he belittles Nair. According to the book, Nair was not the first choice to be Manmohan Singh’s principal secretary, but was in fact the “third choice” for the job. A Tamilian officer who had earlier worked with Rajiv Gandhi was offered by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take up the coveted post, but he had refused to join. Another officer from Punjab was also considered.
The author also compared Nair with his predecessor Brajesh Mishra. “Always impeccably attired, Nair, small-built and short, lacked the presence of a Brajesh Mishra, whose striking demeanour commanded attention”. Baru in his book says Nair rarely gave bold opinion on file and signed off with a 'please discuss' note. “Nair depended a great deal on Pulok Chatterjee, a joint secretary who had worked with both Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia, for advice on important policy decisions,” the author says while narrating the inside of the PMO in UPA-I.
“Nair-Pulok duo was not a patch on the magisterial Brajesh Mishra who ran Vajpayee's PMO with great aplomb,” the author adds.