What Pranab Mukherjee thought about Rahul Gandhi: Sharmishtha's book reveals | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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What Pranab Mukherjee thought about Rahul Gandhi: Sharmishtha's book reveals

Dec 07, 2023 10:46 AM IST

The book titled, "In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers," describes Pranab Mukherjee's illustrious life.

Former President of India and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee once said that Rahul Gandhi was"yet to mature" as a politician, a new book written by ex-president's daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee revealed.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by former president Pranab Mukherjee.(PTI)
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by former president Pranab Mukherjee.(PTI)

The book titled, "In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers," describes Pranab Mukherjee's illustrious life with anecdotes from the former President's diary entries and personal stories narrated to the author and his daughter, Sharmishtha.

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Read here: ‘Pranab knew he wouldn’t become PM,’ daughter’s book explores ex-Prez’s political stint

The book deals with Pranab's views on the Gandhi family and doubts about Rahul Gandhi's leadership skills. Sharmishtha said that Pranab Mukherjee once described Rahul Gandhi as "very courteous" and "full of questions" but he was "yet to mature politically".

She also referred to one incident in her book when the former president had questioned Gandhi's ability to tell the difference between 'am' and 'pm'.

"One morning, during Pranab's usual morning walk in the Mughal Gardens (now Amrit Udyan), Rahul came to see him. Pranab disliked any interruptions during his morning walks and puja. Nevertheless, he decided to meet him. It turned out that Rahul was actually scheduled to meet Pranab later in the evening, but his (Rahul's) office mistakenly informed him that the meeting was in the morning. I came to know about the incident from one of the ADCs. When I asked my father, he commented sardonically, 'If Rahul's office can't differentiate between 'a.m' and 'p.m', how do they hope to run the PMO one day?" Sharmishtha told ANI.

Sharmishtha also referred to one of the ex-president's diary entries in which he mentioned about how he advised the Wayanad MP to join the Cabinet to get some first-hand experience in governance.

"During one of these visits on 25 March 2013, Pranab noted, 'Rahul Gandhi is very courteous and has an interest in a diverse range of subjects but moves very quickly from one subject to another. I don't know how much he listened and absorbed, he (Rahul Gandhi) is yet to be mature politically," she said.

In another chapter, Sharmishtha mentioned that Pranab Mukherjee wrote about a particular incident in 2013 when Rahul Gandhi tore up an ordinance that attempted to shield lawmakers who had been convicted in criminal cases.

“He has all the arrogance of his Gandhi–Nehru lineage without their political acumen....The party’s vice-president had shown such disdain for his own government publicly. Why should people vote for you again?’’ the book cites Pranab Mukherjee as having written in his diary. ”

The book also mentions about the cordial but interesting relationship between the Gandhis and Pranab Mukherjee.

After Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, Congress leader Ghani Khan Choudhary proposed the names of PV Narasimha Rao or Pranab Mukherjee, as the seniormost members of the Cabinet, to take over the head post. But Mukherjee, apparently said there was no problem if a non-Cabinet member such as Rajiv Gandhi became PM.

“Rajiv then asked, ‘Do you think I can manage?’ Pranab replied, ‘Yes, you can. Besides, we are all there to help you. You will have everyone’s support,” the book claimed.

Sharmishtha further recalled Pranab Mukherjee's response when she asked him about his chances to become the prime minister in 2004. Despite the full support from colleagues in the Congress and other parties in the coalition, the then-president of the grand old party, Sonia Gandhi decided to step aside from the race. Gandhi's renouncement, though impressed him but he did feel let down by her treatment of him.

Read here: Pranab Mukherjee once told his daughter: Rahul Gandhi was ‘yet to mature politically’

Gandhi had asked his preference for ministry and Pranab had asked for home or external affairs indicating home would be the first choice. But later, he was left bewildered when he was given the defence portfolio, added the book.

Sharmishtha wrote that Pranab Mukherjee continued to be politically active even after his tenure ended as President in 2017 till his death three years later. The former President had worked with three generations of Gandhi family and held top ministries in the government over an illustrious career spanning decades.

(With inputs from agencies)

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