FROM TELLING the BJP authorities in 2016 that he must dismiss the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa if he didn’t resign after the Supreme Court docket pulled him up, to advising Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to go away his “penchant” for sitting on dharna over “frivolous points”, and disclosing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi met him after saying demonetisation to hunt his “specific assist” — the late President Pranab Mukherjee’s memoir is each revelatory and observational.
In The Presidential Years, Mukherjee says that he refused to journey in then US President Barack Obama’s armoured automobile throughout his go to to India in 2015. Mukherjee requested the Ministry of Exterior Affairs (MEA) to tell the US authorities that when the US President travels with the Indian President in India, he must belief the safety preparations right here.
The Presidential Years, the fourth quantity of Mukherjee’s memoirs, revealed by Rupa, was launched immediately.
Whereas he loved good relations with Modi, Mukherjee makes some vital observations about him and a few of his key selections. He says that the Modi authorities failed in its “major accountability” to make sure the graceful and correct functioning of Parliament in its first time period; that his type of governance throughout his first time period was “autocratic”; that Modi’s December 2015 stopover in Lahore to greet the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his birthday was “pointless and uncalled for” given the circumstances that prevailed in India-Pakistan relations.
He additionally says that Modi “performs up private equations” with international leaders “an excessive amount of”, and “to take such relationships as true is a bit absurd”. As an example, he says, the “notion that India and Japan have grow to be buddies because the arrival of Modi as PM just isn’t right. We now have had good relations with Japan even earlier than 2014, and (Shinzo) Abe had visited India earlier than Modi grew to become PM”.
Mukherjee says the surgical strikes carried out by Indian forces throughout the border have been regular navy operations in response to Pakistan’s continued aggression. He says there was “actually no have to over-publicise them” and argues that “we gained nothing by over-talking on these operations.”
In keeping with Mukherjee, the “a number of said aims of demonetisation” weren’t met. He additionally says that he was “personally not enthused” by the scrapping of the Planning Fee however didn’t want to rake up an argument by opposing it publicly. “I personally really feel it was a mistake, certainly a blunder, to put off the plan panel,” he says.
There are some bitter observations in regards to the Congress too, together with occasion chief Sonia Gandhi.
Mukherjee says the Congress’s defeat within the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was as a result of it “had failed miserably to satisfy folks’s expectations and aspirations”. With out taking names, he says “some senior Congress leaders’ political naiveté and conceitedness harm the fortunes of the occasion additional.”
“I imagine that the management of a celebration in occasions of disaster has to evolve a unique strategy. If I had continued within the authorities as finance minister, I’d have ensured Mamata’s continuity within the coalition. Equally, Maharashtra was dealt with badly, partly on account of selections taken by Sonia Gandhi. I’d have introduced again Shivraj Patil or Sushil Kumar Shinde, contemplating the dearth of a powerful chief from the state, like Vilasrao Deshmukh. I don’t assume I’d have allowed the state of Telangana to be created. I firmly imagine that my presence in lively politics would have ensured that the Congress wouldn’t have confronted the drubbing it obtained within the 2014 normal elections,” he writes.
In then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Rajkhowa’s case, the Supreme Court docket had pulled him up in 2016 over the dismissal of the Congress authorities within the state a yr earlier. Rajkhowa didn’t resign, regardless of a nudge by the central authorities, and in September 2016, the President dismissed him.
“Throughout this disaster, the house minister (Rajnath Singh) met me and mentioned the developments within the state. I can’t expose the main points of the dialogue as a result of it’s privileged info; even the Supreme Court docket can’t direct me to reveal it. Sooner or later although, I had expressed my displeasure to the house minister on the Governor’s conduct. All people needed to attend for the Supreme Court docket’s verdict. I used to be anticipating, as others have been, some interim order, however when it didn’t come, I needed to act. The decision, when it got here, indicted the Governor on all counts, however Rajkhowa didn’t stop. I informed the house minister that if the Governor didn’t act, I must – in different phrases, ask the Governor to stop. Earlier than signing the presidential proclamation, I had consulted authorized consultants,” Mukherjee writes.
On demonetisation, he says Modi didn’t focus on the problem with him earlier than saying the choice on November 8, 2016. “Nonetheless, after delivering his deal with to the nation, the PM visited me at Rashtrapati Bhavan and defined to me the rationale behind his resolution. Modi outlined three important aims of demonetisation: tackling black cash, preventing corruption and containing terror funding. He desired an specific assist from me as a former finance minister of the nation…Following the assembly, I issued an announcement extending assist to the precept of demonetisation,” he writes, however provides that whereas it’s troublesome to evaluate the precise influence of demonetisation, near 4 years after it was applied, one factor that may be said with out concern of contradiction is that that the a number of aims, as said by the federal government, haven’t been met.
Mukherjee additionally has a bit of recommendation for Modi. Stating that simply the bodily presence of the PM in Parliament makes an amazing distinction to the functioning of this establishment, he says: “PM Modi, now in his second time period, should take inspiration from his predecessors and supply seen management, via his enhanced presence in Parliament to keep away from conditions that had precipitated the parliamentary disaster we witnessed within the first time period. He should take heed to the dissenting voices and converse extra typically in Parliament.”
On Kejriwal, Mukherjee says the Delhi Chief Minister and his deputy Manish Sisodia sought his recommendation as soon as on the standard of training in faculties and the introduction of a particular curriculum on happiness. “I used one in every of these events to talk my thoughts to Kejriwal on his penchant for sitting on dharna over frivolous points. He had been liable to take to the streets to focus on numerous considerations. On one event, he had even refused to go away the Lt Governor’s residence in protest towards what he believed was the Lt Governor’s refusal to heed his plea, and spent an evening on the place! I informed him that, whereas all this was superb when he was an activist, if he continued with the identical technique as CM, it will not add to the dignity of the excessive workplace he occupied. I suggested that it was vital for him to take care of that dignity.”
Mukherjee died on August 31 final yr, on the age of 84.