NEW DELHI: The Congress he had lost political focus after his rise as president and some party members believed that if he had become prime minister in 2004, the debacle of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections could have been avoided, Pranab Mukherjee wrote in his memoirs.
Mukherjee completed the book “The Presidential Years” before his death. It will be published by Rupa in January.
The former president died on July 31 at the age of 84, after complications from Covid-19.
His remarks come at a time of intense internal turmoil in Congress.
The publishers issued a statement announcing the book.
“Some members of Congress have theorized that if I had become prime minister in 2004, the party might have avoided the 2014 Lok Sabha beating. Although I do not subscribe to this view, I believe that the party leadership lost political focus afterwards. of my promotion as president. Sonia Gandhi unable to handle party affairs, Dr. (Manmohan) Singh’s prolonged absence from the House put an end to any personal contact with other MPs, “Mukherjee is quoted in his book.
“I believe that the moral authority to govern rests with the prime minister. The overall state of the nation reflects the functioning of the prime minister and his administration. While Dr. Singh was concerned with saving the coalition, which affected governance, (Narendra) Modi seemed to have employed a rather autocratic style of government during his first term, as seen in the bitter relationship between the government, the legislature and the judiciary.
“Only time will tell if there is a better understanding of these issues in the second term of this government,” Mukherjee said in the book, according to Rupa’s statement.
Mukherjee was the thirteenth president of India after spending five decades in politics.
The book offers a rare insight into his fascinating journey from a remote Bengal village to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“This is a deeply personal account of how one of the country’s most respected and veteran politicians reshaped the workings of Rashtrapati Bhavan and responded to tumultuous events as the country’s first citizen, leaving a legacy that will be hard to match.” . the statement said.
In this first-person account, Pranab da, as he is affectionately called, recalls the challenges he faced in his years as president: the difficult decisions he had to make and the tightrope walk he had to undertake to ensure that both the Constitutional property and his opinion were taken into consideration, he further said.
The book also reveals a minor diplomatic problem that arose during the visit of the president of the United States. Barack Obama in 2015, when the US Secret Service insisted that its president travel in a specially armored vehicle that had been brought in from the US and not in the car designated for use by the Indian head of state.
“They wanted me to travel in the same armored vehicle with Obama. I politely but firmly refused to do so, and asked the MEA to inform the American authorities that when the American president travels with the Indian president in India, he would have to trust our security arrangements. It cannot be the other way around, “Mukherjee wrote on the unrestricted account.