Sonia Gandhi’s renunciation of the PM’s post continues to mystify many. On Sunday, it was VP Singh’s turn to provide an answer to it. The former PM, who met Sonia shortly after she declined the post, said the Congress chief gave him two reasons for it
“If I had accepted the PM’s post… parties like the BJP would have got an issue. Secondly, in that situation for a long time there would have been a bitter debate which would have been a cause of tension. And that would not have been in the country’s interest,’’ Singh quoted Sonia as saying.
The backdrop to the conversation was provided by ML Fotedar who visited him to keep him posted of his apprehesion, as well as that of other Congress leaders, that there was a threat to Sonia’s life it she took up the PM’s post It was after this that Singh visited Sonia where she revealed her mind on the issue.
“I found her very sensitive… Her political understanding was very clear,’’ Singh said in the book Manjil se Zyada Safar (Travel Beyond Destination), released on Sunday on the occasion of his 75th birthday in the presence of former President R Venkaraman, former PM IK Gujral, Jan Morcha’s Raj Babbar, “natural allies” from the Left AB Bardhan, Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, PMK’s Dr Ramadoss, NCP’s DP Tripathi and LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan.
Speaking through a series of interviews conducted by veteran journalist Ram Bahadur Rai, Singh provides nuggets of information and insight on a wide range of events, including the turbulence that marked his tenure as Defence Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi cabinet and his days as PM. Inevitably, there are references to Bofors, Ayodhya, Mandal, Jan Morcha, Janata Dal, the National Front, etc.
On the face of it, the gathering seemed to mark the coming together of third front votaries but Paswan stressed it shouldn’t be clubbed with the revival of the third front or the UP elections.
After the book release function at Singh’s residence, the entire leadership went over to Paswan’s residence where a cake-cutting ceremony was attended by PM Manmohan Singh, who even came up with the couplet “tum ziyo hazaar saal…”