Rahul lost perception battle with frequent breaks, says book on Pranab Mukherjee

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Rahul lost perception battle with frequent breaks, says book on Pranab Mukherjee

| Updated: December 7, 2023 20:23

Rahul Gandhi finds wide mention and not too glowingly in the late former India President’s new book, authored by his daughter, Sharmishtha.

The book titled ‘In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers’ is sprinkled with anecdotes that enliven the former President’s journey. Personal stories and diary entries narrated to the author provide strong materials for the book.

Mukherjee, Sharmistha has mentioned, had stated that Rahul was “yet to mature politically”. She makes reference to the Congress vice-president gate-crashing a press conference and “vehemently” trashing a proposed government ordinance. She writes that the ordinance – meant to overturn a Supreme Court ruling in favour of the immediate disqualification of a legislator if convicted of a criminal offence – in September 2013 was a huge setback for Congress prospects in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“Pranab himself was against the ordinance… in principle, he agreed with Rahul. But he was aghast at the manner in which Rahul acted…‘Who does he (Rahul) think he is? He is not a member of the Cabinet. Who is he to publicly trash a Cabinet decision? The Prime Minister is abroad…What right does he have to humiliate the PM like this?’” Sharmistha recounts her father’s words, published in The Indian Express.

She recalls that Rahul met her father after Congress’s terrible performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The former President was surprised that Rahul gave his views in a most detached way. “Perhaps his distance from the party and a lack of killer instinct could be reasons for his failure to enthuse the party workers to fight the election which BJP got from Narendra Modi.” she quotes her father as saying.

Mukherjee wasn’t convinced about Rahul’s disappearing acts. He believed serious politics was a 24×7, 365-day job, and Rahul’s frequent breaks were “causing him to lose the perception battle.”

The Firstpost notes that the 391-page long book is not critical of Rahul entirely. “In several instances, Mukherjee praises Rahul, describing him as ‘very courteous’ and ‘full of questions’, which he took as a sign of Rahul’s desire to learn,” it writes.

A part of Firstpost’s review of the book reads: “As per Mukherjee’s diary, Rahul spelt out in detail his plans for revamping the Congress organisation. Though the President did not write anything about those plans, he was appreciative and noted that Rahul ‘appeared confident of meeting the challenges. But had Mukherjee known what Rahul was about to do two months later [trashing government ordinance], he would have very strongly advised Rahul against it.”

Sharmistha also highlighted the “trust deficit” the Gandhi family had with her father, alluding to Sonia Gandhi preferring Manmohan Singh over Mukherjee. She clarified that the perception that Mukherjee had staked claim to the Prime Minister’s post after the assassination of Indira Gandhi was factually incorrect.

She mentioned, though, that her father developed a warm working relationship with Sonia Gandhi and found her “intelligent, hardworking and keen to learn.” 

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