President Mukherjee's memoirs' 2nd volume unveiled
Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India unveiled President Pranab Mukherjee's second volume of memoirs at a function held in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The memoirs are titled 'The Turbulent Years 1980-1996' and talk about the happenings in India around the 1980s and 1990s. On the release of the memoirs, the President exclaimed that ''some secrets will be buried with me''.
Talking about Operation Bluestar, where the army stormed Golden Temple, Mukerjee quoted the then PM Indira Gandhi saying: "Pranab, I know of the consequences." He further states that "It is easy to say that the military action could have been avoided. However, nobody really knows if any other option would have worked." The memoirs also talk about Indira's assassination and Rajiv's succession.
Mukherjee revealed that the news that he was dropped from Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet came as an absolute shock and left him 'flabbergasted'. He further states that this decision was a mistake on both his and Gandhi's part. "He let others influence him and listened to their calumnies against me. I let my frustration overtake my patience", he wrote.
Talking about the Bofors irregularities, President Mukherjee pegged the blame on the then Finance Minister V.P. Singh. He said that Singh "failed to take action on his own in the Bofors irregularities" In his critique, he says that as a Finance Minister, it was his responsibility to warrant that the procurement of the Bofors guns took place under proper rules and regulations.
Dwelling on the issue of the opening of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple, President Mukherjee says that it was an "error of judgment" on Rajiv Gandhi's part. He touched the topic of Babri Masjid demolition calling it an "act of absolute deceit". He called the "senseless, wanton destruction of a religious structure, purely to serve political ends" as PV Narasimha Rao's biggest failure.
"There has been some discussion regarding differences between RBI Governor Dr Manmohan Singh, and me...I never saw my differences with Dr Singh...other than legitimate exchanges of opinion...I had absolutely no role in Dr Manmohan Singh's departure from the RBI."
The Congress party has steered clear of any commentary on President Pranab Mukherjee's book which talks about key issues and talks in detail about his ouster from Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet. Congress's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala commented that the "President is the first citizen. We respect him. We have not gone through the book. We will say anything only after studying it".