By Prashant Sood, New Delhi, Aug 1 IANS | 4 months ago

Former union minister Kamal Nath has said that former party colleague K. Natwar Singh had written his memoirs to "retaliate" against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and said she seemed to have made up her mind about not being the prime minister much before the 2004 Lok Sabha election.

He also said that Natwar Singh may be trying to "position" himself for some kind of a role in the BJP-led administration.

Asked about Natwar Singh's claim that it was Rahul Gandhi who forced his mother not to take responsibility as prime minister in 2004 as he was afraid she could be killed like his father Rajiv Gandhi and grandmother Indira Gandhi, Kamal Nath said it could be a contributing factor but her main reason for not taking the post was her inner calling.

"That could have been one of the small reasons. The main reason was her inner voice," he said.

"I for one always felt during the (2004) general election and after that she will not be the prime minister. Because she never discussed anything about (the) post-election (situation)," said Kamal Nath.

Kamal Nath said he had gone with Sonia Gandhi to meet DMK leader M. Karunanidhi after she declined to take the post of prime minister.

"She told Karunanidhi that this is the best decision I made that I should not be prime minister. Karunanidhi tried to persuade her that she should be prime minister. She said I have come to tell you that I will not be prime minister...

"This was after the first meeting of Congress parliamentary party which elected her as leader," he said.

Manmohan Singh was later chosen as the Congress choice for prime minister.

Asked about the timing of Natwar Singh's autobiography, which was released Friday, Kamal Nath said he has chosen his own timing.

Kamal Nath, who is into his ninth term in the Lok Sabha and has held key positions in the Congress and the United Progressive Alliance government, hoped that Sonia Gandhi will come out with her own book soon to set the record straight.

Sonia Gandhi said Thursday that she will write her "own book" so that the "truth comes out" following revelations about Natwar Singh's autobiography "One Life is not Enough" (Rupa) and his interview to Headlines Today in which he made scathing references to her.

"It is his own timing but really his book is about those who do not exist. Most of the people are no more alive and he can say anything and everything. There is nobody to verify or contradict," Kamal Nath said.

The 83-year-old Natwar Singh, who spent long years in Congress after his years in the Indian Foreign Service, resigned as external affairs minister in the fallout of the Volcker report on the oil-for-food scam in Iraq in 2005 which named him and his son among many others globally who allegedly benefited from the contracts.

Natwar Singh later quit the Congress as he felt the party, especially Sonia Gandhi, did not stand up him.

Kamal Nath said that Natwar Singh had waited and timed the release. "It is strategically planned to be launched at this time," he said.

"The first objective is that he wants to retaliate on Sonia Gandhi for not protecting him in food-for-oil scam and number two he wants to promote himself...

"He is trying to position himself to be accommodated somewhere," Kamal Nath suggested.

Kamal Nath said that Natwar's Singh's diatribe against Sonia Gandhi will not impact the party.

"I don't think it will affect the Congress. He is a man who has left the Congress, (is) now identified with BJP. (Narendra) Modi could write (such) a book; any BJP leader can write such a book," he said.

Kamal Nath was dismissive of Natwar Singh's claim that Priyanka and Sonia Gandhi met him May 7 in a bid to persuade him against carrying the portion about Rahul's insistence on Sonia not becoming prime minister.

"I do not know whether she met him. But if she met him, she may have met him to tell him not to carry false things, he said.

Kamal Nath said he did not know when the book by Sonia Gandhi will come out. "Hope it comes out very fast."

(Prashant Sood can be contacted at prashant.s@ians.in)

(Posted on 01-08-2014)

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