The late former President of India Pranab Mukherjee in his upcoming memoir holds Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible for the party’s devastating loss in the 2014 general election, according to excerpts released yesterday.
The President wrote, “Some members of the Congress have theorized that, had I become the PM in 2004, the party might have averted the 2014 Lok Sabha drubbing. Though I don’t subscribe to this view, I do believe that the party’s leadership lost political focus after my elevation as president.” He added, “While Sonia Gandhi was unable to handle the affairs of the party, Dr. Singh’s prolonged absence from the House put an end to any personal contact with other MPs.”
He also noted, “I believe that the moral authority to govern vests with the PM. The overall state of the nation is reflective of the functioning of the PM and his administration. 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, the judiciary. Only time will tell if there is a better understanding of such matters in the second term of this government.”
He concluded, “I politely but firmly refused to do so, and requested the Ministry of External Affairs to inform the US authorities that when the US president travels with the Indian president in India, he would have to trust our security arrangements. It cannot be the other way around.”