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India PM in office but 'not in power', book claims

Published on Apr 12, 2014 5:18 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A tell-all book by an ex-aide to India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh depicting him as a powerless political puppet hit bookstores this weekend, stirring new controversy in the midst of a bitterly fought election.

The book, giving ammunition to opposition critics during the marathon polling which winds up on May 12, paints a damning portrait of a premier who was in office - but "not in power" - while ruling Congress party president Sonia Gandhi called the shots.

Entitled "The Accidental Prime Minister - The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh," the book is by academic and journalist Sanjaya Baru, a former media advisor to the current prime minister, who left his post in 2008.

Traditionally, the president of India's ruling party is also premier. But Ms Gandhi, who led Congress to power in 2004 and 2009, turned down the job, fearing her Italian birth would become an explosive political issue as Hindu nationalists said her foreign origin made her unfit to rule India.

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