Former President of India and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee had thought of Rahul Gandhi as a politician who is "yet to mature."
In her book " In Pranab, My Father: A Daughter Remembers," Sharmishtha Mukherjee, the daughter of former President Pranab Mukherjee, reveals his views on the Gandhi family and doubts about Rahul Gandhi's leadership skills.
Sharmishtha Mukherjee, an author and the daughter of Pranab Mukherjee in conversation with ANI said that Pranab Mukherjee once described Rahul Gandhi as "very courteous" and "full of questions" but he was "yet to mature politically".
She writes that her father had questioned Rahul Gandhi's ability to tell the difference between 'AM' and 'PM'.
"One morning, during Pranab's usual morning walk in the Mughal Gardens (now Amrit Udyan), Rahul came to see him. Pranab disliked any interruptions during his morning walks and puja. Nevertheless, he decided to meet him. It turned out that Rahul was actually scheduled to meet Pranab later in the evening, but his (Rahul's) office mistakenly informed him that the meeting was in the morning. I came to know about the incident from one of the ADCs. When I asked my father, he commented sardonically, 'If Rahul's office can't differentiate between 'a.m' and 'p.m', how do they hope to run the PMO one day?" she told ANI.
The book referred to one of Pranab Mukherjee's diary entries in which he explained how he advised the Wayanad MP to join the Cabinet to get some first-hand experience in governance.
"He has not written much about Rahul Gandhi. During one of these visits on 25 March 2013, Pranab noted, 'Rahul Gandhi is very courteous and has an interest in a diverse range of subjects but moves very quickly from one subject to another. I don't know how much he listened and absorbed, he (Rahul Gandhi) is yet to be mature politically," she said.
The author further also mentioned an incident wherein he questioned Rahul Gandhi's ability to lead the Congress and to hold the post of PM.
She also recounted several memories with her father and disclosed the former president's interest in becoming the PM.
She said that Pranab Mukherjee wanted to become the Prime Minister of India, but Congress leader Sonia Gandhi "safeguarded" her own family's interest and paved the way for Manmohan Singh to hold the post in 2004.
"Yes, he wanted to become the PM, but he knew that he couldn't become one, so he was not in some disillusionment that he'll become a PM one day...I asked him once if he wanted to become a PM and he said yes, any serious politician would like to become one but that doesn't mean that I'd become the PM...," she said.
Sharmishtha further said that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi had assumed that Pranab Mukherjee could have challenged, as he used to think, her authority.
"He said that maybe Sonia Gandhi had assumed that he might challenge the authority of Sonia Gandhi...he said that the question was not whether I would have challenged it or not but she felt that...Sonia Gandhi safeguarded her own and her family's interest so they made someone PM whom they felt would not challenge her authority," she said. (ANI)