‘Stop the memoir’: Pranab Mukherjee’s son to publishers of father’s book

Updated on Dec 15, 2020 04:24 PM IST

In a series of tweets, Mukherjee said that the excerpts that were released were “motivated” and that the former President would not have approved.

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee with Rupa’s Kapish Mehra.
File photo of Pranab Mukherjee with Rupa’s Kapish Mehra.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | BySunetra Choudhury

Days after publishing house Rupa announced the launch of former President Pranab Mukherjee’s final volume of memoirs, his son and former Lok Sabha member of Parliament Abhijit Mukherjee has demanded that the publication be stopped till he gives his approval.

In a series of tweets, Mukherjee said that the excerpts that were released were “motivated” and that the former President would not have approved.

Hindustan Times reached out to the publishers but they have refused to comment for now. However, an official on condition of anonymity confirmed to Hindustan Times that President Pranab Mukherjee had approved not just the final draft of the manuscript but had also approved the cover a day before he was admitted to hospital.

Rupa had released some excerpts of The Presidential Years on Friday in which he blames Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the party’s devastating loss in the 2014 general elections. The book also states his opinion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi employed an autocratic style of governance during his first term in power.

“Since my father is no more, I being his son want to go through the contents of the final copy of the book before its publication as I believe, had my father been alive today, he too would have done the same,’’ Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted to publisher Kapish Mehra.

He then added “request you to immediately stop its publication without my written consent till I go through its contents ! I have already sent you a detailed letter in this regard which will reach you soon.’’

 

The book slated for publication early next year is part four of Pranab Mukherjee’s memoirs which first came out in 2014, when he was in Rashtrapati Bhawan. The official quoted above said that the former President had signed the first agreement with them in 2013 and the latest book contract was signed in 2018. “Mr Abhijit Mukherjee was nowhere in the picture,’’ said the official.

Another official who worked with the former President confirmed to Hindustan Times that President Mukherjee had approved the latest volume’s publication. They also confirmed that his daughter Sharmishta Mukherjee, who is also a Congress member, was much more in the loop than her brother. Hindustan Times reached out to her for comment but she is yet to respond.

“While Dr Singh was preoccupied with saving the coalition, which took a toll on governance, Modi seemed to have employed a rather autocratic style of governance during his first term, as seen by the bitter relationship among the government, the legislature and the judiciary,” Mukherjee wrote in the book, according to the released excerpts. “Only time will tell if there is a better understanding on such matters in the second term of this government.”

The Congress Party has not responded to the details of the book or its disclosures till now.

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