Sunday, November 28, 2021

Nehru was given an offer to merge Nepal in India’”he refused: Pranab Mukherjee

Late president Pranab Mukherjee’s autobiography, which is yet to be published, is making several headlines. This time it is revealed that the first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had rejected Nepal King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah’s offer to make the Himalayan country a province of India.

In chapter 11, under the heading ‘My Prime Ministers: Different Styles, Different Temperaments’, Mukherjee, however, writes that “had Indira Gandhi been in Nehru’s place, she would have perhaps seized upon the opportunity, as she did with Sikkim”.

Sikkim was an independent kingdom before it becomes part of India in 1975. On May 16, 1975, it was officially declared that Sikkim was part of the Indian parliament.

Mukherjee remarked that PM Nehru was very diplomatic in dealing with Nepal as “After the Rana rule was replaced by the monarchy in Nepal, he wished for democracy to take root. Interestingly, Nepal’s king, Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah, had suggested to Nehru that Nepal be made a province of India. But Nehru rejected the offer because Nepal was an independent nation and must remain so”.

 While expressing his views further on former prime ministers and presidents of India, he mentioned, “Every PM has his or her own style of functioning. Lal Bahadur Shastri took positions that were very different from that of Nehru. There can be divergent perceptions among PMs, even if they happen to come from the same party, on issues such as foreign policy, security, and internal administration.”

Former president Mukherjee also blamed top leaders of Congress and pointed out how the lack of governance on the part of Manmohan Singh and opined that “It was difficult to believe that the Congress had managed to win just 44 seats. Congress is a national institution interlinked with people’s lives. Its future is always a concern of every thinking individual.”

He narrated how Congress leaders considered that it was due to his refusal to take the prime minister post in 2004 that the party got lost in the 2014 elections.

Pranab Mukherjee recounted, “Some members of the Congress have theorized 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.”

Mukherjee also launched a scathing attack on Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi and reported, “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.”

Mukherjee’s book, ‘The Presidential Years’, has already triggered a public spat between his son and daughter- Abhijit Mukherjee and Sharmistha Mukherjee

While Abhijit said he wants to go through the book before final publishing, Sharmistha, Mukherjee’s daughter in a series of tweet said, “I, daughter of the author of the memoir ‘The Presidential Years’, request my brother Abhijit Mukherjee not to create any unnecessary hurdles in the publication of the last book written by our father. He completed the manuscript before he fell sick,”

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