Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi, and the PM Throne
Sharmistha Mukherjee’s upcoming book, “In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers,” delves into the intriguing political dynamics surrounding former President Pranab Mukherjee. The book sheds light on a pivotal moment in Indian politics when Pranab Mukherjee, despite being a top contender, missed the opportunity to become the Prime Minister in 2004. Through anecdotes and diary entries, Sharmistha offers readers a glimpse into her father’s unfulfilled ambitions and his perspective on key events.
In the chapter titled “The PM India Never Had,” Sharmistha narrates the events following the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress party, was expected to become the Prime Minister. However, she surprised many by renouncing her claim and proposing the name of Manmohan Singh instead of Pranab Mukherjee, who was considered a top contender for the position.
Sharmistha recalls a conversation with her father during those crucial days. When asked about his chances of becoming the Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee responded bluntly, “No, she will not make me the PM. It’ll be Manmohan Singh.” Despite this revelation, the book emphasizes that there was no bitterness in Pranab Mukherjee towards Sonia Gandhi or the chosen Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
The book delves into Pranab Mukherjee’s political journey, revealing his desire to be the Prime Minister, especially in 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, he accepted the reality that having such ambitions did not guarantee fulfillment. Sharmistha provides insights into her father’s reflections on the political landscape and his realization that personal desires may not always align with political outcomes.
Sharmistha draws from her father’s diary entries, offering readers a glimpse into Pranab Mukherjee’s thoughts during those crucial days. The entries detail the emotional turbulence within the Congress party, Sonia Gandhi’s sacrifice, and the subsequent appointment of Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. The book highlights Pranab Mukherjee’s acknowledgment of Sonia Gandhi’s intelligence, hard work, and her decision to prioritize the nation’s interest over personal ambition.