July 2, 2012

Kalam says he was ready to swear Sonia as PM in 2004

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who always failed to impress the Congress leadership time and again, "tried" to break the ice by coming out with some sensational revelation in his new book, "Turning Points".

The excerpts of Kalam’s new book were published by 'The Telegraph' today. According to Kalam, he would agree to swear Sonia as the Prime Minister in 2004, but she had backed out and nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The latest development put an end to the notion that Dr. Kalam had objected to Sonia Gandhi's elevation as the Prime Minister in 2004 because of her foreign origin.

"During this time there were many political leaders who came to meet me to request me not to succumb to any pressure and appoint Mrs Gandhi as the Prime Minister, a request that would not have been constitutionally tenable. If she had made any claim for herself, I would have had no option but to appoint her," he wrote.

"I had applied my mind totally in an unbiased manner after eliciting opinions from legal and constitutional experts. The primary aim of all the decisions was to protect and nurture the sanctity and robustness of our Constitution."

"I was told that Sonia Gandhi was meeting me at 12.15 in the afternoon of 18 May. She came in time but instead of coming alone she came with Dr Manmohan Singh and had a discussion with me. She said that she had the requisite numbers but she did not bring the letter of support signed by party functionaries.

"She would come with the letters of support on the 19th, she said. I asked her why do you postpone. We can even finish it this afternoon. She went away. Later, I received a message that she would meet me in the evening, at 8.15pm".

"In this meeting after exchanging pleasantries, she showed me the letters of support from various parties. Thereupon, I said that is welcome. The Rashtrapati Bhavan is ready for the swearing-in ceremony at the time of your choice. That is when she told me that she would like to nominate Dr Manmohan Singh, who was the architect of economic reforms in 1991 and a trusted lieutenant of the Congress party with an impeccable image, as the Prime Minister".

"This was definitely a surprise to me and the Rashtrapati Bhavan secretariat had to rework the letter appointing Dr Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister and inviting him to form the government at the earliest," Kalam wrote.

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