Kalam: 'Gandhi Opted Out'
Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

Kalam: 'Gandhi Opted Out'


For years, APJ Abdul Kalam was believed to have wrecked Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s prime ministerial ambitions in May 2004 when he was the President of India. But now it appears that Gandhi never pitched herself for the PM’s post and had nominated only one person for the post: Manmohan Singh, in office still. 

Kalam dropped this and other bombshells in his book “Turning Points, A Journey Through Challenges,” to be released next week. It appears he was ready to swear in Gandhi as prime minister but was “surprised” when on May 18, 2004, she named Singh for the job instead.

At the time, Gandhi said: “The post of prime minister has not been my aim. I was always certain that, if ever I found myself in the position I am in today, I would follow my inner voice. I humbly decline the post.” But her political detractors circulated stories in the media that Kalam had strongly opposed Sonia as the prime minister because of her foreign origin.

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Kalam says that he received “emails and letters from individuals, organizations and parties” asking him not to accept Sonia Gandhi’s prime ministerial claim but he merely forwarded it to various government agencies without any remarks of his own. Kalam has said these demands were “constitutionally untenable,” and if Gandhi had made any claim for herself, “I would have had no option but to appoint her.”

Kalam has also given his version of the national crisis triggered by developments with regard to the Bihar assembly. He has maintained in his book that the UPA government failed to properly present the president’s action in court, thereby attracting adverse judicial remarks on the union cabinet, which is “mine and I have to take the responsibility.”          

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