A controversy is brewing over the publication of the fourth volume of former President Pranab Mukherjee’s autobiography with his son Abhijit Mukherjee demanding that the publisher should get his clearance before its release, while daughter Sharmistha asking him not to put “unnecessary hurdles”.
Rupa Publications had announced last week that the fourth volume of Mukherjee’s autobiography ‘The President Years: 2012-2017’ will hit the stands next month while releasing some excerpts.
Taking to Twitter, former Congress MP and Mukherjee’s elder son Abhijit said, “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.”
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 .1/3
— Abhijit Mukherjee (@ABHIJIT_LS) December 15, 2020
According to the excerpts, Mukherjee felt Prime Minister Narendra Modi employed a “rather autocratic style of functioning” while former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was “pre-occupied” with saving the UPA that took a toll on governance. It also says that Sonia Gandhi was “unable” to handle the affairs as the Congress “lost” political focus leading to the party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha polls.
“Since my father is no more, I being his son, want to go through the contents of the final copy of the book before it’s publication as I believe, had my father been alive today, he too would have done the same,” he wrote. Mukherjee passed away on August 31 after completing his book.
Therefore, he said, the publisher should immediately stop the publication “without my written consent till I go through its contents!”. Abhijit also said he has written a letter to Kapish Mehra of Rupa Publications in this regard.
Responding to this, Mukherjee’s daughter and Delhi Mahila Congress President Sharmistha asked her brother not to create trouble and that her father had completed the manuscript before he fell sick.
I, daughter of the author of the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’, request my brother @ABHIJIT_LS not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick 1/3
— Sharmistha Mukherjee (@Sharmistha_GK) December 15, 2020
“I, daughter of the author of the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’, request my brother @ABHIJIT_LS not to create any unnecessary hurdles in publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick.”
She also appeared to taunt Abhijit for giving a wrong title when she said, “btw (by the way bro), the title of the book is ‘The Presidential Years’, not ‘The Presidential Memoirs’.” However, Abhijit had corrected it before she pointed it out.
A spokesperson for Rupa Publications, which released Mukherjee’s earlier three volumes, said “no comments” when asked about Abhijit’s demand.
The fourth volume will also have Mukherjee’s views on the controversial imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, demonetisation and surgical strikes and his relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first volume of his autobiography — The Dramatic Years: The Indira Gandhi Years — focussed on his relationship with the former prime minister, the Emergency years and the Congress losing power.
The Turbulent Years: 1980-1996 — the second volume — recorded the events, including the return of the Congress to power, Indira’s assassination, his fall out with Rajiv Gandhi, return to the Congress after forming his own party, and the Narasimha Rao years.
In the third volume — The Coalition Years: 1996-2012 — Mukherjee dealt with the United Front days, the ousting of Sitaram Kesri as the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi’s leadership and UPA years till 2012 July when he was chosen as the President.