Pranab Mukherjee Blames Sonia Gandhi, Dr Singh For 2014 Debacle in his book

New Delhi: The previous President, who died in August, appears responsible former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the party’s 2014 defeat. He also writes that “some members of the Congress” believed had he been Prime Minister, the party wouldn’t have lost power.

At a time the Congress confronts unrelenting in-house criticism of its top leadership after a string of election defeats, the ultimate volume of Pranab Mukherjee’s memoirs, out soon, may stir more debate.

“Some members of the Congress have theorised that, had I become the PM in 2004, the party may need averted the 2014 Lok Sabha drubbing.” Though I do not subscribe this view, I do believe that the party’s leadership lost political focus after my elevation as president.

While Sonia Gandhi was unable to handle the affairs of the party, Dr (Manmohan) Singh’s prolonged absence from the House put an end to any personal contact with other MPs,” Dr Mukherjee writes, consistent with excerpts from “The Presidential Years” released by Rupa publishers.

In the book, set for release in January, Pranab Mukherjee, who was Union Minister in almost every Congress government until he became President in 2012, analyses why the Congress crashed within the 2014 election.

Dr Mukherjee also compares the 2 Prime Ministers he worked with – Manmohan Singh and his successor Narendra Modi.

“I believe that the moral authority to control vests with the PM. the general state of the state 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 appeared to have employed a rather autocratic sort of governance during his first term, as seen by the bitter relationship among the govt, the legislature and therefore the judiciary. Only time will tell if there’s a far better understanding on such matters within the second term of this government,” he writes.

The book, say sources, reflects on his controversial decisions of imposing president’s rule out various states, which were overturned by the Supreme Court, and his role within the shock demonetisation of 2016.

The publishers call the book a “deeply personal account” during which Dr Mukherjee describes “the difficult decisions he had to form and therefore the tightrope walk he had to undertake to make sure that both constitutional propriety and his opinion were taken into consideration”.

Dr Mukherjee died at 84 in August, days after a operation after testing positive for Covid-19.

Often called the “best Prime Minister that India never had”, Dr Mukherjee tackled his complicated relationship with the Congress leadership even in his previous books.

He was widely expected to be Sonia Gandhi’s choice for Prime Minister after she refused to require the highest job in 2004. But she picked Manmohan Singh.

In 2017, at the launch of a previous instalment of Dr Mukherjee’s book, Manmohan Singh had noted that he was “correctly upset once I was made Prime Minister”. He said: “He had a reason to feel upset but he respected me and that we have an excellent relationship which can continue till we live.”