Can’t Differentiate Between AM & PM, Pranab Mukherjee Said On Rahul Gandhi’s Office
New Delhi: The late Pranab Mukherjee didn’t have a very high opinion of Rahul Gandhi as politician, a book written by the once-powerful Congress leader’s daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee has revealed.
In her book titled ‘Pranab My Father’, former Congress leader Sharmishtha has shared her father’s views on Rahul and his relationship with the Gandhi family, among several other topics.
Pranab, who served as President of India from 2012 to 2017, questioned Rahul’s ability to lead and was disappointed by his “frequent disappearing acts.”
“One morning, during Pranab’s usual morning walk in the Mughal Gardens (renamed as 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 ‘am’ and ‘pm’, how do they hope to run the PMO one day’?” Sharmishtha recalls.
Pranab, who was Finance and Defence Minister in the Congress-led UPA government, was considered by many to be the Prime Minister candidate before Dr Manmohan Singh got the nod.
Called the ‘Chanakya’ of Congress party from Indira Gandhi’s time, Pranab worked with three generations of Gandhis in an illustrious career spanning than five decades.
Sharmishtha’s upcoming book refers to an incident that left her father dismayed.
“Rahul was conspicuously absent during the flag-raising ceremony at the AICC on the party’s 130th Foundation Day on 28 December 2014, barely six months after the Congress’ loss in the general elections,” she writes.
“Rahul was not present at the AICC function. I don’t know the reason but many such incidents happened. As he got everything so easily, he doesn’t value it. Soniaji is bent upon making her son the successor but the young man’s lack of charisma and political understanding is creating a problem. Can he revive the Congress? Can he inspire people? I don’t know,” Pranab noted in his diary.
Pranab, who died in August 2020 at the age of 84, was “disappointed with Rahul’s frequent disappearing acts”.
Besides penning Pranab’s criticism of Rahul, Sharmishtha also writes: “Though Pranab was critical of Rahul and seemed to have lost faith in his ability to revive the Congress, one thing is undeniable. Had Pranab been alive today, he would have definitely appreciated Rahul’s dedication, tenacity, and the outreach during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. This 145-day Yatra, spanning over 4,000 km, has arguably positioned Rahul as a highly credible face of the political narrative countering bigotry.”