Rahul stopped Sonia from becoming PM: Natwar
Rahul stopped Sonia from becoming PM: Natwar, Former foreign minister Natwar Singh has claimed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not become prime minister in 2004 because of her son Rahul Gandhi, who was afraid that she would be killed like his father Rajiv Gandhi.
New Delhi: Former foreign minister Natwar Singh has claimed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not become prime minister in 2004 because of her son Rahul Gandhi, who was afraid that she would be killed like his father Rajiv Gandhi.
It was not her inner voice that prevented her, as she claimed at the time, to take up the PM's post but Rahul Gandhi said he would take every step possible to prevent his mother from becoming PM, Singh said in an exclusive interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today. Natwar Singh said Rahul Gandhi gave his mother a 24-hour deadline to decline the PM's post. He cited Suman Dubey and Manmohan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi as witnesses to this meeting. Natwar Singh, who has penned a book, titled One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography, on his years as a Congress leader, said on May 7, Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka called on him at his house to plead that this story (about why she did not become the PM) be kept out of the book. At this meeting, Natwar Singh claimed, Sonia Gandhi embraced him, apologised for the way he had been treated and said he was her closest friend to whom she had confided things she has never told either Rahul or Priyanka.
Former President Shankar Dayal Sharma was the first choice of Sonia Gandhi to become prime minister when the Congress came to power in 1991, said Natwar Singh. After Sharma refused due to poor health, PV Narasimha Rao was the second choice, said Singh whose tell-all memoir is due for release on August 1. Natwar Singh claimed he and Aruna Asaf Ali were sent as emissaries to sound out Sharma, the vice-president. Only after Sharma refused did she think of Rao, said Singh. On both occasions she took the advice of P N Haksar, he said.
Govt files were sent to Sonia
Natwar Singh also confirmed that Sonia Gandhi used to receive government files when the UPA was in power. The files, he claimed, were taken to her by Pulok Chatterjee. This claim confirmed the suggestion first made by Manmohan Singh's former media advisor Sanjaya Baru in his book “The Accidental Prime Minister” three months ago.
Natwar Singh claimed that UPA ally and RJD chief Lalu Yadav was angry when he came to know Manmohan Singh and not Sonia Gandhi was to become the prime minister. LJP chief Ramvilas Paswan too was upset and it took a lot of effort to bring both men on board, he said. Natwar Singh also spoke about clandestine meetings at Mohammed Yunus's home when Narasimha Rao, then the PM, appeared without security to seek his help in improving relations with Sonia. Congress leader Ajay Maken, however, rubbished the report.