Never wanted to be PM: President Mukherjee

Mukherjee says false and spiteful' stories created misgivings in Rajiv Gandhi's mind.

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee writes in his memoir, The Turbulent Years: 1980-96, that after the demolition of the mosque, he asked the then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao at a private meeting: “Was there no one who advised you of the dangers?At least now take concrete steps to quell communal tensions.”

On the other major issue of that time, of his prime ministerial aspirations after the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi, Mr Mukherjee wrote: “Many stories have been circulated that I aspired to be the interim Prime Minister, that I had staked claim and had to be persuaded otherwise.” “And that this created misgivings in Rajiv Gandhi’s mind. These stories are completely false and spiteful.”

In the book, the President has written in detail about the conversation he had with Rajiv Gandhi in a bathroom about the prime ministership on that fateful day of October 31, 1984.

“Time was ticking away and I was very keen to talk to him. I went near the couple (Rajiv and Sonia) and gently touched Rajiv on the back of his shoulder. He released himself from Sonia’s arms and turned around to talk to me,” he wrote.

“Knowing that I would not have disturbed him unless the matter was very urgent and confidential, he quickly led me to the bathroom attached to the room so that we could talk without being noticed by anyone else who may enter the room,” Mr Mukherjee said.

The two had a discussion on the political situation and the views of partymen about appointing Rajiv Prime Minister, which he had agreed to become. Later, “I came out of the bathroom and conveyed Rajiv’s decision to everyone”.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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