The central question is: Does Mrs Sonia Gandhi have something to hide? A simple, single word, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, would do
8/29/2014 3:41:44 PM
|written By : MJ Akbar|
Why write a fat book when a single sentence might suffice?
There are many excellent reasons why Mrs Sonia Gandhi should pen a memoir, but Kunwar Natwar Singh’s autobiography, One Life is Not Enough, is not one of them. Once her “closest friend” and now nemesis, Natwar Singh has raised some important questions about Sonia Gandhi’s character and use, or misuse, of power during the UPA decade between 2004 and 2014. His revelations and remarks have got traction in media and among the people because they seem credible. Mrs Gandhi has to answer them now, not a few years later.
The central question is: Does Mrs Sonia Gandhi have something to hide? A simple, single word, “yes” or “no”, would do.
If Mrs Sonia Gandhi has nothing to hide, why did she and her daughter Priyanka call on Natwar Singh in May this year to plead that he should delete certain portions from this book?
If Mrs Sonia Gandhi believes that her erstwhile colleague, advisor and friend is indulging in fabrication, she has an effective recourse: she can sue the author and publisher for libel and collect handsome damages if she wins. She has enough lawyers in the party baggage who will appear for her pro bono. A legal notice can be sent within an hour.
So far, the Congress response has veered between a private squirm and a public shout. Hapless spokespersons on television have resorted to high-pitched diversion: when asked about Delhi they launch into a vigorous assault on Bombay. Ask if Mrs Gandhi refused to become Prime Minister in 2004 because of her widely-advertised conscience, or her son’s fears, and you get some sustained invective against the author rather than a direct answer. In any case, this pales before the charge that official files were being shown to Mrs Gandhi by a bureaucrat, Pulok Chatterjee. It is not illegal to be afraid, but it is illegal to violate the Official Secrets Act. Dr Manmohan Singh has said, rather blandly, that he was not aware of any files being sent to Mrs Gandhi, but he would say that, wouldn’t he? Otherwise he would be guilty as well.