After controversial excerpt, Pranab Mukherjee’s family feuds over his memoirs
New Delhi, Dec 15: Pranab Mukherjee's children are on a war path over the publication of the late President's memoirs after controversial excerpt blaming Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for 2014 electoral debacle has emerged.
The memoir, titled "The Presidential Years", will be globally released in January 2021.
Mukherjee's son and former Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee said "motivated excerpts" were circulating in "certain media platforms" without his consent.
"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," Mukherjee wrote.
@kapish_mehra @Rupa_Books— Abhijit Mukherjee (@ABHIJIT_LS) December 15, 2020
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 .1/3
"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," he added.
"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!"
However, countering Abhijit's views, Mukherjee's daughter Sharmishtha asked her brother not to make trouble by preventing the publication of the content for "cheap publicity".
" I, daughter of the author of the memoir 'The Presidential Years', request my brother @ABHIJIT_LS not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick.Sharmishtha wrote on Twitter.
I, daughter of the author of the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’, request my brother @ABHIJIT_LS not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick 1/3— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) December 15, 2020
"The final draft contains my dads' hand written notes & 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," she added.
In the book, Mukherjee also presents a critical point of view for the Congress party, in which he was a senior leader for over five decades. He candidly refutes the view of leaders of the party, who believed had Mukherjee 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," he wrote.
The fourth volume of Mukherjee's memoirs recollects the challenges he faced in his years as the President including the difficult decisions he had to make and the tightrope walk he had to undertake to ensure that both constitutional propriety and his opinion were taken into consideration.
The former president and long-time Congress leader died on August 31 at the age of 84, following COVID-19 complications. His comments on the Congress come at a time of intense internal turmoil in the party.