Union Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh plans to start writing his autobiography from next month. He promises to make it a candid, bare-all account “uncompromising with fact.”
“I will not deliberately offend anyone but if the facts as I see them offend anyone, I can’t help. I will have to say sorry...” he told Hindustan Times. Giving some indication of what his autobiography could contain, he said, “the facts narrated of that period (Babri Masjid demolition) were all cover-up”. He, however, refused to elaborate on the issue, saying, “It is not fair to speculate at this juncture.”
But he made it clear that his long tussle with former Prime Minister PV Narsimha Rao would figure prominently in the autobiography.
Rao’s self-defence on the Babri issue in his autobiography hasn’t cut ice with Arjun Singh. Asked if he has forgiven Rao for the way he handled the Babri mosque issue and the probe into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi now that he is no more, Arjun Singh replied with a deadpan face, “forgiving or forgetting him is out of question. Facts are not guided by sentiments”.
He, however, recalled his last meeting with Narsimha Rao in hospital. “He said Arjun Singhji, I owe you a visit but that didn’t come about. He died three days later.”
Media, with which he has had intense love-hate relations, is also likely to come under Arjun Singh’s firing line. He claimed that events involving him, as they unfolded, eventually proved the media’s harsh campaign against him wrong. He cited the Congress victory in Madhya Pradesh after the Bhopal gas tragedy and the dying down of the recent uproar over the reservation issue as two examples.
“The compulsions of sensationalism and cut-throat competition have tended to straightjacket the media,” he said. Despite persistent nudging, Arjun Singh was not forthcoming about the specifics of the autobiography. Right now he is busy collecting reference material. That exercise should be relatively easy for him. Arjun Singh is one of the few politicians in the country who maintain record of every word uttered whether in a press conference or at a function.
“The autobiography will cover a very long span- since 1937 when I went to a boarding school in Allahabad,” he said. Although he has not quite conceived chapters, the Congress leader indicated that watershed moments in his life like the toppling of the DP Mishra Government, election as chief minister, going to Punjab as Governor, association with Bharat Bhavan, appointment as AICC vice president and , of course, breaking away from the Congress will be extensively dealt with in the light of some not-yet-known facts.