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Pranab Mukherjee knew Sonia Gandhi would not make him PM, was upset over ‘politically immature’ Rahul Gandhi for tearing ordinance: Reveals Sharmistha Mukherjee

Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee has made several revelations in a new book, In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers, which is based on the diary entries of the former president.

The late former President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter, Sharmistha Mukherjee revealed that her father was disappointed about the way Rahul Gandhi disregarded an ordinance that had been brought in by the then-UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government in 2013 to spare convicted leaders like Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Yadav from disqualification. He also knew that Sonia Gandhi would not make him the PM after renouncing the post in 2004. Sharmistha Mukherjee has made several such revelations in a new book, In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers, which is based on the diary entries of the former president.

“I’ll tell you what my opinion on the ordinance is. It’s complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. That is my personal opinion,” Rahul Gandhi declared while tearing the ordinance in a press conference held by another prominent Congress leader Ajay Maken who was defending the decision. The Congress scion had embarrassed the then-Manmohan Singh government hours before the prime minister met with President Barack Obama in Washington DC and publicly rebuked his party’s old guard.

The Congress spokeswoman talked about her new book, “In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers,” which includes intimate tales and experiences from her father, in an interview with India Today. The Gandhi scion’s observations, according to the now-deceased veteran Congress leader were “politically immature” and she stated that her father realised that the former was “losing the battle of perception.”

She revealed that following the party’s poor performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Pranab Mukherjee was particularly displeased with Rahul Gandhi’s frequent absences from Parliament. She divulged that her father had mentioned to a journalist during an interview that he did not anticipate being appointed prime minister by Sonia Gandhi.

Sharmistha Mukherjee unveiled, “In 2004 after Sonia Gandhi renounced her claim (of being the Prime Minister), there was media speculation about who would be the Prime Minister. The names of my father and Manmohan Singh were doing the rounds. I asked him excitedly if he would be the Prime Minister. But he said no and that Manmohan Singh would be the Prime Minister.” As per Sharmistha, Pranab Mukherjee told her, ‘No, she will not make me the PM. It’ll be Manmohan Singh,’ indicating that Sonia Gandhi will not make him the PM.

Rahul Gandhi, the current Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad voiced in a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting just before the 2009 general election that he was against a coalition government. Sharmistha Mukherjee claimed that her father wrote about this occurrence in his journal. She highlighted, “Baba (Pranab Mukherjee) said he (Rahul Gandhi) should put his thoughts coherently. Rahul Gandhi said he would meet him.” She noted that the UPA government from 2004 to 2014 did not witness much interaction between the two leaders.

Sharmistha Mukherjee remembered a day when her father mocked Rahul Gandhi for wanting to become prime minister. “Rahul Gandhi came to see baba while he was walking in the Mughal Gardens in the morning. He disliked being disturbed while walking or doing puja. But still, he met him. Later, I came to know that Rahul Gandhi was supposed to meet him in the evening.”

She added, “When I told baba about this, he was not amused. He sarcastically said if Rahul Gandhi’s office cannot differentiate between am and pm, how can he become the Prime Minister?”

Pranab Mukherjee served as India’s finance minister and subsequently became minister for External Affairs, Defence, Finance and Commerce. He was India’s 13th president (2012 to 2017). He died on August 31, 2020, at the age of 84. He was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 2019 by his successor as president Ram Nath Kovind under the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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