Pranab Memoir: Son Says Don’t Publish, Daughter Says Go Ahead

Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit and daughter Sharmishtha have sparred over the publication of his last memoir which is slated for release next month.

While Abhijit Mukherjee has written a letter to the publishers to stop the publication of memoir without his written consent, Sharmishtha Mukherjee has requested her brother “not to create any unnecessary hurdles in the publication of the last book written by our father.”

She has also said the views expressed by Pranab Mukherjee are his own and “no one should try to stop it from being published for any cheap publicity”. “That would be the greatest disservice to our departed father,” she said. The spat between the two took place over twitter.

A small excerpt from the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’ had been released by Rupa Publications last week and was widely reported in the media. Pranab Mukherjee, who was president from 2012 to 2017, had died in August this year. The publication had said that the memoir will be released in coming January.

The small excerpt contained Pranab Mukherjee’s views on the party’s drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and had critical views on the handling of the Congress party and the government by Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Abhijit Mukherjee, a former Congress MP, made a series of tweets and termed the excerpts as “motivated” and asked the publisher to stop its publication of the memoir.

“I, the son of the author of the Memoir ‘The Presidential Memoirs’ request you to kindly stop the publication of the memoir as well as motivated excerpts which is already floating in certain media platforms without my written consent,” he said.

Abhijit said he wants to go through the final copy of the book before its publication and said his father would have done the same.

“Since my father is no more, I being his son want to go through the contents of the final copy of the book before it’s publication as I believe, had my father been alive today, he too would have done the same. Therefore, I being his son request you to immediately stop it’s publication without my written consent till I go through its contents! I have already sent you a detailed letter in this regard which will reach You soon! Regards,” he said.

Sharmistha, who is Congress spokesperson, however, strongly disagreed with her brother.

She also pointed out that the title of the book is ‘The Presidential Years’, not ‘The Presidential Memoirs’ as written by Abhijit.

“I, daughter of the author of the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’, request my brother not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick,” she said.

“The final draft contains my dads’ hand written notes and comments that have been strictly adhered to. The views expressed by him are his own & no one should try to stop it from being published for any cheap publicity. That would be the greatest disservice to our departed father. Btw bro, the title of the book is ‘The Presidential Years’, not ‘The Presidential Memoirs’,” she added.

The book will be the fourth volume of memoirs of the former President.

According to the excerpt, the former President has talked of the Congress debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha election after 10 years of two UPA governments.

“Some members of the Congress have theorized that, had I become the PM in 2004, the party might have averted the 2014 Lok Sabha drubbing. Though I don’t subscribe to 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 Singh’s prolonged absence from the House put an end to any personal contact with other MPs,” the excerpt quotes him saying.

According to the excerpt, Pranab Mukherjee has also written that the overall state of the nation is reflective of the functioning of the Prime Minister and his administration.

“I believe that the moral authority to govern vests with the PM. The overall state of the nation 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 seemed to have employed a rather autocratic style of governance during his first term, as seen by the bitter relationship among the government, the legislature and the judiciary. Only time will tell if there is a better understanding on such matters in the second term of this government,” the excerpt quotes him saying.(ANI)

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