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The explosive letter written by Jayanthi Natarajan to Sonia Gandhi in November provides ample hints about how the cabinet form of government was undermined from within when Manmohan Singh was prime minister. Whether the incidents mentioned in the missive actually took place or not may never be known for sure. Why the letter was leaked so many months after it was written will also stir conspiracy theories.

For now, all it does is throw more light on the way the government of the day was hostage to the erratic leadership of the Congress, while the economy got mired in the resulting policy mess. The environment ministry, headed first by Jairam Ramesh and followed by Natarajan, was central to the evolving mess. Non-governmental organizations ran riot. What’s also important is her suggestion that powerful corporate groups held sway in New Delhi. The unique power sharing deal between Singh and Gandhi eventually led to a lot of damage.

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