DNA Special: Why former President Pranab Mukherjee’s memoir is must-read for politics enthusiasts

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    DNA Special: Why former President Pranab Mukherjee’s memoir is must-read for politics enthusiasts

    ‘The Presidential Years, 2012-2017’ written by former President Pranab Mukherjee released on Tuesday. However, Abhijit Mukherjee, the son of the former president, had objected to the publishing of the book and said that the book should not be published without their permission.

    The 197-page book has 11 chapters. Anyone who is interested in politics should read this book that informs about the major decisions taken in the country in those five years – 2012-17. 

    Let us talk about some of the most interesting points:In pg no 20 and 21, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi’s leadership has been questioned. According to the former President, who was also a veteran Congressman, Sonia Gandhi did not handle the Congress’ affairs properly. Dr Manmohan Singh stayed away from the house for a long time due to which MPs lost their contact with the party.

    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.”

    In pages 172 and 173, on his relationship with the two Prime Ministers he worked with, who belonged to two parties and who were (and are) fiercely opposed to each other, Mukherjee writes: “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.”

    Even as many in the Congress still seem to be in denial about Modi’s popularity and the fact that he has earned his victories, Mukherjee clearly says that Modi earned and achieved his success.

    “Modi, on the other hand, became PM through popular choice after leading the BJP to a historic victory in 2014. He is a politician to the core and had been named the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate as the party went into campaign mode. He was then Gujarat’s CM and had built an image that seemed to click with the masses. He has earned and achieved the prime ministership,” Mukherjee writes.

    In the 2014 general elections, Pranab Mukherjee writes that Prime Minister Modi was trusted by the people of the country but it cannot be ruled out that the Congress had not stood up to the expectations of the people.

    Mukherjee also writes about the feedback given by the Congress and BJP leaders after the election campaign was over.  Congress leaders projected no coalition to get a majority. The leader of the Opposition was also not convinced about the BJP’s victory. Only Piyush Goyal talked about the BJP getting a full majority.

    Mukherjee also wrote about PM Modi’s foreign policy and how he had mastered its nuances. “Modi then sought my advice on his intent to invite all the heads of state/government of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries for the swearing-in ceremony. I complimented him on the idea and advised him to discuss the same with the head of the Intelligence Bureau, owing to the enormous security risks facing leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. I have had very cordial relations with PM Modi during my tenure. However, I did not hesitate to give my advice on matters of policy during our meetings. There were several occasions when he echoed concerns that I had voiced. I also believe that he has managed to grasp the nuances of foreign policy quickly,” Mukherjee says in the book.

    Demonetization has been both commended and criticized, although the jury is still out on whether it has achieved its main purpose,” writes Mukherjee.

    Although the issue had been discussed in Parliament off and on for 17 years, “yet, when the announcement came, it brought with it a good amount of shock. Let us not forget that everyone is impacted by unaccounted cash in daily life, and unaccounted cash is amassed through the non-payment of taxes. Adequate measures were not taken to obviate the attendant problems that people faced. Further, large parts of the country continue to remain unmonetized and the practice of barter system continues in tribal areas. There is no doubt that demonetization and the consequential decisions of the government have had an adverse impact on the economy and GDP growth, resulting in an increase in unemployment in the medium term. The informal sector of the economy, which dealt with cash, was hurt severely.”

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    (the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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