Cong. shows the door to author

The book refers to Ms. Gandhi as `maharani', Rahul as `Rajkumar'

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan unit of the Congress has shown the door to the author of a controversial book on party president Sonia Gandhi. Pradesh Congress Committee president B.D. Kalla, who released the book, Sonia Gandhi and Indian Politics, on August 30 at his official residence here without seemingly knowing about its contents, announced the dismissal of Manchand Khandela, the author, here on Wednesday.

Mr. Khandela, an academician who claims to be the vice-president of the Intellectual Cell of the Rajasthan PCC, refers to Ms. Gandhi as "maharani" and Rahul Gandhi as "Rajkumar."

The book also says the decision by Ms. Gandhi not to accept the post of Prime Minister was an act of "compulsion" and not a sacrifice.

In fact, Mr. Khandela approached the former Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, in August to get Ms. Gandhi release the book. Mr. Gehlot reportedly turned down the request.

Mr. Kalla, who now doubles as the PCC president and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly was at pains to prove his innocence a day after a Delhi newspaper published the report of the book release and the ruling party members in the Assembly made fun of the Congress in the House over the contents of the treatise.

"The author cheated me as he had shown me a version which did not have the controversial references," Mr. Kalla told The Hindu.

Mr. Kalla denied the party high command had issued any showcause notice to him on the issue but conceded that the party leader in-charge for Rajasthan, Mukul Wasnik, had talked to him on the phone.

"I am not afraid for my post. As a party worker, I am willing to sacrifice my life for the Congress president. The charges of collusion in releasing the book are motivated. I totally dissociate myself from the book," Mr. Kalla said.

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