A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was willing to swear in Congress leader Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister had she claimed the top job for herself in 2004 and “there is no question of him advising or writing to Ms. Gandhi on her candidature for Prime Ministership,” a senior adviser to the former President told The Hindu on Saturday.
“Going by Constitutional provisions, the President has to accept the claim of the leader of the majority political party on the matter,” V. Ponraj said on behalf of Mr.Kalam, who wrote the same thing in his forthcoming memoir, Turning Point, published by HarperCollins this week. This response from Mr. Kalam’s side came when The Hindu contacted his office for his reaction to Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy's allegation that the former President had not given an accurate account of the events related to the appointment of the Prime Minister in 2004.
Based on Mr.Kalam’s advice, V. Ponraj reiterated: “It is the Constitutional responsibility of the President to honour the claim of the leader of the majority political party. Being a citizen of India Ms. Gandhi could not have been denied an opportunity to become the Prime Minister had she made a claim,” he said.
Mr. Ponraj said that though Ms Gandhi’s status as an Indian citizen had been upheld by the Supreme Court, the President had received a large number of letters, emails and calls from leaders of political parties and others who challenged the legality of her becoming the Prime Minister.
“Mr. Kalam simply forwarded those representations to the concerned people through proper channels without making any remarks.” Mr. Ponraj said, adding that there should be no doubt that he was prepared to accept the claim of Ms. Gandhi. “There is no question of Mr. Kalam advising or writing to Ms. Gandhi on her candidature for prime ministership. Going by Constitutional provisions, the President has to accept the claim of the leader of the majority political party on the matter.”