Book reflects his pain, says BJP on Mukherjee’s autobiography

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said that the second volume of President Pranab Mukherjee’s autobiography clearly reflected his pain and dismay over the injustice meted out to him by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“What Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has said is a matter of fact. Now, we must understand that Pranab Mukherjee, as a political master, has his own capability and merit and even the opposition have always recognized it. Therefore, injustice has been done to Mr. Pranab Mukherjee and his pain is reflecting in his book,” BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI here.

“Rajiv Gandhi always felt threatened by Pranab Mukherjee, therefore, he was dropped as a cabinet minister, his capability was known when Sonia Gandhi wanted to pick a Prime Minister, she wanted to make 7 RCR (the official residence of the Prime Minister) a puppet of 10 Janpath. So, they did not pick Pranab Mukherjee, but unfortunately Manmohan Singh,” he added.

Disappointed over his expulsion from the Congress in 1986, President Mukherjee, has in the second volume of his autobiography ‘The Turbulent Years 1980-1996’, recalled that he “spent many sleepless nights wondering why he was dropped from the union cabinet and driven out of the party”.

“I can only speculate. My personal equation with Rajiv was always good, though limited,” he said.

“On April 26, 1986, I was at Kamalapati Tripathy’s residence when his daughter-in-law Chandra brought me the shocking news that I had been expelled from the party for six years. No one from the party leadership had bothered to inform me,” writes the president in his autobiography.

President Mukherjee writes, “Perhaps, I should have sensed Rajiv’s growing unhappiness and the hostility of those around him and taken pre-emptive action. However, I remained engrossed in my work, as is my usual way. Many of the actions, all without malice or ill-intent, were used by my detractors to project me as someone unwilling to accept Rajiv’s leadership. Petty things were blown up into huge issues.”

Recalling another incident that may have angered Rajiv Gandhi, President Mukherjee says, “During the meeting of the CPB to select Congress candidates for the general election of 1984, the nomination of incumbent Lok Sabha members Kamal Nath from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh and Professor Nirmala Kumari Shaktawat from Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, was opposed by some people close to Rajiv, including Arun Nehru. I strongly protested and insisted on their nomination. The vehemence of my protest perhaps displeased Rajiv, who reputedly said, ‘Reserve it for the consideration of the president’- meaning himself.”

“Clearly, Rajiv did not like my proximity to Kamalapati Tripathi. Media reports speculating about dissident activities may also have angered him,” he added.

However, in answer to the question of why he dropped me from the Cabinet and expelled me from the party, the President says: “All I can say is that he made mistakes and so did I. He let others influence him and listen to their calumnies against me. I let my frustration overtake my patience.” (ANI)