Mumbai: Taking a dig at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former Foreign Minister Natwar Singh today said she should not have reacted to the controversy caused by his book, and that her intervention only helped increase the sale of his just released autobiography.
Singh claimed Sonia and her daughter Priyanka's May 6 meeting with him before the launch of the book, ‘One Life is not Enough', to persuade him not to refer to a particular episode, pushed its sale by 20,000 copies. The sale rose by another 10,000 after her promise to come out with her own book.
“Sonia is known not to react and that is a quality she has picked up from her mother-in-law (Indira Gandhi). If I was advising her, I would have asked her not to react at all,” he said at an event to promote the book here this evening.
The 83-year-old former diplomat, an estranged Gandhi family friend who quit the Congress in 2008, said he could only sell 20,000 copies collectively of his past 10 books but the response to his autobiography is surprising.
Noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani was also present at the event. Following the release of the book, which took potshots at the Gandhi family, Sonia had said she would write a book to tell her version of the events in 2004, when she declined to become Prime Minister owing to her “inner voice”.
The May meeting with Priyanka and Sonia had happened following hints from the author that he would reveal more about the 2004 episode.
According to the book, she declined the top post due to strong opposition from her son Rahul, who was afraid she would be killed like his father and grandmother.
Singh continued his tirade against the Gandhi family, alleging his name was dragged into the Volcker report (after which he resigned from Cabinet) due to the Congress chief.
Of all the countries, only India took Volcker's findings (on Iraqi food-for-oil scam) seriously, he claimed, adding then PM Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet colleague P Chidambaram could not take any decision without Sonia's nod.
Singh came out against the Narendra Modi Government's decision to cancel Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan over its envoy's meetings with Kashmiri separatists, saying the dialogue should have been postponed and not called off.
“If I were advising Modi, I would have sought a postponement of the talks not cancellation. That is diplomacy,” he said. Singh, however, praised Modi for his visit to Brazil for the BRICS summit.