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'Venomous' Sonia Treated Like Royalty in India: Natwar Singh

Natwar Singh, former Congress leader, today said that the strong reaction from Sonia Gandhi to his new book, proves that it has touched a "raw nerve" and something has "upset" her so much that she came out.

He also claimed in an interview to NDTV that "50 Congressmen" called him to congratulate him for "telling the truth" in his new book.

Gandhi had yesterday said, "I will write my own book and then you will come to know everything. The only way truth will come out is if I write. I am serious about it and I will be writing."

Gandhi had responded to a question about the row triggered by the autobiography of Natwar Singh in which he claims that it was Rahul Gandhi's fear for her life that prevented her from becoming Prime Minister contracting her version that she heeded to her "inner voice" in not taking up the post.

Insisting that she was not hurt, Gandhi said that she had seen worse things like her husband Rajiv Gandhi being assassinated and her mother-in law Indira Gandhi riddled with bullets.

Natwar Singh said the very fact that Gandhi reacted to the contents in his book was "significant" as she had not reacted to the book by Sanjaya Baru, media adviser to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Why, because it touched a raw nerve, he was asked. Natwar Singh responded, "Obviously, that's something, you know, has upset her so much, that she came out. If I was advising her, I would say don't say anything."

On Manmohan Singh dubbing Natwar Singh's version of why Gandhi refused to become PM and on other issues as a "marketing gimmick", the former External Affairs Minister said, "facts are what Sanjaya Baru said and what I said and what many others have said."

Natwar Singh stuck to his remarks that Pulok Chatterjee, former PM's Principal Secretary, had taken official files to Gandhi. "Did he go to meet Sonia to have tea?" he asked.

On Rahul Gandhi, Natwar Singh said he was a "strong-willed person" and "not a pushover" but did not have the "fire in his belly" to serve as a full-time politician. "He may not be a brilliant politician but as a human being, he is very tough. And I don't think he would fear about his own life."

In his book One Life is Not Enough which hit the stands today, Natwar Singh, has described Gandhi as "venomous", "obsessively suspicious" and "a prima donna who was treated like royalty from the day she stepped in to India".

Singh (83), an estranged Gandhi family friend, had quit the Congress in 2008 after he had to resign from the UPA-I Government in 2005 in the wake of the Iraqi food-for-oil scam.

He has denied any wrongdoing and says that Gandhi did not intervene because she was told by advisers that her proximity to him would allow critics to allege that he was acting on her behalf in siphoning money.

He hoped Gandhi will write her book "sooner than later. I think she is entitled to her views. And I look forward to reading her book".

In a swipe at Gandhi's Italian roots, a point raised in the past against her by the opposition, Natwar Singh said, "No Indian would have treated me this way."

Flaying Gandhi's refusal to give him a chance to counter the allegations of corruption against him, he said, "We have a tradition that people who are older than you, you give them regard. Anyone not born in India would not know this."

Singh, however, was clear that without the Gandhis as its anchor, the Congress will disintegrate into "five factions." He said, "For the last 15 years, Sonia Gandhi has held the party together."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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Digression

16/D-109
Aug 03, 2014
10:20 PM

"One life is not enough", but one rancorous lie/half-truth can destroy a life/reputation.

Mickie Sorabjee, Mumbai
15/D-73
Aug 03, 2014
02:03 PM

'If you publish Natwar Singh's book, be ready to face dire consequences'
daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-if-you-publish-natwar-singhs-book-be-ready-to-face-dire-consequences-caller-warn-4701408-NOR.html

New Delhi: The publisher of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh's soon-to-be-released book 'One Life is Not Enough: An Autobiography' has allegedly received threat calls, Hindustan Times reported.

Unknown persons made several calls to the Mumbai unit of Rupa Publication's, warning of dire consequences if the book gets published. "If you publish Natwar Singh's book, be ready to face dire consequences," the caller allegedly told the publisher.

Although the publisher has not lodged any complaint in this regard, the police have provided it a security cover.

Natwar has made a series of serious allegations against Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi in the book. He has alleged that Sonia declined to become prime minister in May, 2004 because of strong opposition from her son Rahul who was afraid she would be killed like his father and grand mother. Since Rahul was adamant, Sonia had to refuse the offer of the top job. It was not her 'inner voice'.

The alleged frosty relationship between Sonia Gandhi and late Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao has also come out in full view in Natwar's autobiography which says Gandhi was "never fond of" Rao who wondered why she was so "hostile" to him.

"Sonia had made P V Narasimha Rao prime minister. But she wasn't very fond of him. I, too, had fallen out with him and joined the Tiwari Congress, but we later made up," PTI quotes Singh as recalling in the book.

Despite his personal fondness for Rajiv Gandhi, Singh went on to say in the book that the late prime minister "mishandled" the fallout of the Shah Bano case, the Ram Janmabhoomi issue and the agitation in Darjeeling hills.

He also faulted him over his handling of the Bofors kickback controversy.

"I felt then, and still do, that the prime minister could have handled the matter in a more nuanced manner.... He could have exercised nuanced restraint. This he did not do. Instead, he plunged into the Bofors mud. Some of it stuck," he writes in his autobiography.

Rajiv, says Singh, was initially in support of Supreme Court ruling in Shah Bano case despite the anger of Muslim clerics and put up Arif Mohammad Khan, a junior minister, to defend the ruling. He, however, soon changed his mind and Khan resigned.

"The countrywide reaction was that the Prime Minister had not handled the issue well," writes Singh, a member of Rajiv's ministry.

The Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue surfaced after locks placed on the site were taken away and worship begun, allegedly at the behest of Gandhi's close aide Arun Nehru, and the issue culminated in the BJP leader L K Advani's rath yatra and the mosque's demolition, he writes.

Mohan, Adiipur
14/D-43
Aug 03, 2014
07:36 AM


                11,000-page 26/11 Mumbai attack chargesheet had one para on LeT: Botimesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/11000-page-26/11-Mumbai-attack-chargesheet-had-one-para-on-LeT-Book/articleshow/39503322.cmsok  

Mohan, Adiipur
13/D-26
Aug 03, 2014
04:14 AM

Only about 500 British officers came to rule India for two hundred years. There is no point in criticising Sonia Gandhi. One should criticise those Congis who took the orders from a woman who has no education worth the name , and who has no qualities either. All the Congressis, including Mr.N.Singh himself, did serve the lady with absolute integrity as her most obedient servant. 

george, london
12/D-35
Aug 02, 2014
12:34 PM
Mohan, Adiipur
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