Pranab Mukherjee’s son objects to publication of final volume of memoir

The objection, however, drew a sharp reaction from his sister, Sharmistha Mukherjee

December 15, 2020 04:01 pm | Updated December 16, 2020 01:02 am IST - New Delhi

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee

File photo of Pranab Mukherjee

Abhijit Mukherjee, former Lok Sabha member and son of the former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, on Tuesday objected to the publication of the final volume of his father’s memoir , The Presidential Years , and has demanded to see the manuscript before its release.

Mr. Mukherjee's objection, however, drew a sharp reaction from his sister, Sharmistha Mukherjee, who asserted that the manuscripts were cleared by her father and “none should stop it for cheap publicity”.

The book is scheduled to be released in January.

On December 11, the publishers, Rupa, released an excerpt of the final final volume, in which the late President talks about the Congress losing focus after his elevation as the President and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh busy saving the government.

The excerpt also has a portion in which he describes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s functioning as “autocratic” in his first term.

“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”, Mr. Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted and tagged the publishers as well as its head, Kapish Mehra.

“Since my father is no more, I being his son want to go through the contents of the final copy of the book before its 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 its publication without my written consent till I go through its contents!”, he said and mentioned that he had also sent a formal letter.

Daughter’s tweet

“The final draft contains my dad’s handwritten 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”, Ms. Mukherjee tweeted, tagging her brother and asking him not to create hurdles.

She also corrected him that the memoir was called The Presidential Years and not The Presidential Memoir .

According to the excerpts, he had said that many in the Congress believed that the 2014 Lok Sabha elections may have been different if he was the Prime Minister.

“Some members of the Congress have theorised 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”, read one excerpt.

“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,” he stated.

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