CPI-M makes light of Gujral’s remark in book

February 23rd, 2011 - 1:08 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday made light of former prime minister I.K. Gujral’s claim in his just-published book that he had cautioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi about being let down by Left parties in her bid to form a government in 1999, saying that those wanting to write their memoirs should not wait till their nineties.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said he was present in the series of meetings during that period and it was leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav who had raised objections to Gandhi’s efforts to form a Congress-led government.

“Write memoirs earlier. Do not wait till nineties,” Yechury said, referring to Gujral, 92, who became the 12th prime minister of India in 1997.

He said the Congress had also made it clear that the government will be headed by it and it will not support any other party.

“In that fluid situation, many wanted to be prime minister,” he said.

Gujral said in his book “Matters of Discretion” that he had told Gandhi frankly that he would support her candidature for prime ministership but she would be let down by her friends in the left at the last moment.

“Sonia came over to my residence on April 20, 1999 for a cup of coffee. Hers was basically a courtesy call to ask for my support. I told her very frankly that while I would support her candidature for prime ministership, she would be let down by her friends in the Left at the last moment,” said the former prime minister.

“I added that she was being naive if she thought that (Harkishen Singh) Surjeet (CPI-M leader and then kingmaker) was seriously backing her. In fact, their ‘hidden horse’ was Jyoti Basu who had been convinced by Surjeet to enter the fray for the top post in case of a deadlock,” Gujral wrote in the book.

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