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Son Abhijit Asked Publisher to Stop Publication of Pranab Mukherjee’s Memoirs

NEW DELHI, Dec 15: Apparently embarrassed by his father’s revelations of some internal intrigues in the Congress, the former Congress Member of Parliament Abhijit Mukherjee, son of the former president Pranab Mukherjee, has asked the publisher to forthwith stop publication of his father’s final volume of memoirs.

The publishing house “Rupa” had some time back announced the publication of the final volume of the former president’s memoirs but his son on Tuesday directed it to stop its publication till he give his “approval.” In a series of tweets Abhijit also said the excerpts that were released were “motivated” and that the former President would not have approved these.

The publication house refused to comment on Abhijit’s request but sources claimed that Pranab Mukherjee had approved not just the final draft of the manuscript but had also approved the cover a day before he was admitted to hospital from where he never returned and died due to complications caused by Covid-19 a couple of months ago.

Rupa had released some excerpts of The Presidential Years on Friday in which he blamed the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the party’s debacle in the 2014 general elections. The book also states his opinion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi employed an autocratic style of governance during his first term in power.

“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,’’ Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted to publisher Kapish Mehra.

He then added “request you to immediately stop its publication without my written consent till I go through its contents ! I have already sent you a detailed letter in this regard which will reach you soon.’’

The book slated for publication early next year is part four of Pranab Mukherjee’s memoirs which first came out in 2014, when he was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The sources in the publishing house said the former President had signed the first agreement with them in 2013 and the latest book contract was signed in 2018. “Mr Abhijit Mukherjee was nowhere in the picture,’’ said the official.

A senior government official who had worked with Pranab Mukherjee also confirmed that the former president had approved the latest volume’s publication. The sources said his daughter Sharmishta Mukherjee, who is also a Congress member, was much more in the loop than her brother.

“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,” Mukherjee wrote in the book, according to the released excerpts. “Only time will tell if there is a better understanding on such matters in the second term of this government.”

The Congress Party has not responded to the details of the book or its disclosures till now.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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