On July 29, at around 4 PM, I received a regular Flipkart mailer about the exclusive online availability of Natwar Singh’s soon to be released autobiography with India’s largest online retailer. The pre-order offer was with 20% discount.
Had it not been a book by a politician with deep Congress sweet-turned-sour linkage and closeness with the Nehru-Gandhi family in the past, as Natwar Singh had, it would not have been so quick, given the fact that books of Amartya Sen and Salman Rushdie were available with greater pre-order discounts that what was on Natwar’s book.
Had it not been about the news reports of it being a tell-all book, the response on placing the order would not have been so spontaneous.
Had it not been about the prospects that it could corroborate (or debunk – though a remote possibility given the Natwar-Congress rift) many ‘myths’ and facts about the Nehru-Gandhi family, already out in the open with other insider accounts.
Okay, so the order was placed. Now, let’s see when the book arrives.
But one thing was sure – it was going to be all over soon. And within 24 hours, Natwar Singh’s yet to be ‘publicly’ released book was all over.
So, what will the Natwar Singh’s tell-all book do?
It will generate some heat. Heated arguments and discussions will take over the programming agenda of TV channels, for some days, starting last evening. It will make for major story of the newspapers in the morning.
Natwar Singh’s interviews will be carried out. He will feel important again, especially after the reports that Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had met him to convince him to drop the plans about his soon to be released book ‘One Life Is Not Enough’ or modify the content of the book. Sonia was meeting Natwar Singh after 2005. And this period of almost a decade has made Natwar Singh politically irrelevant in Indian politics.
First, the successful career bureaucrat, the senior politician, was made a minister without portfolio from being the Foreign Minister in 2005 (when his name surfaced in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal) and then was forced to resign. His efforts to resurrect politically took him to the Bahujan Samaj Party but it also proved futile.
So, may be, Natwar Singh would be thinking of having his sweet revenge – by embarrassing the top leadership of the Congress party – including the Nehru-Gandhi family – with his insider accounts. Natwar Singh was close to the family for over three decades.
Now, how much of it is controversial and what happens to it with what effect? – a prospect that Natwar Singh would certainly be thinking about – and he has reasons to feel that the heat would sustain for some more days.
But, politically, in the long term, ‘the insider details of the party’s functioning in the past’ are not expected to affect the Congress party much after its historically humiliating Lok Sabha polls performance where it registered its lowest ever tally.
Also, the much traded open secret of the two power centres has been busted so many times so far – many news reports including the book by Sanjaya Baru book, Manmohan Singh’s media advisor.
Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is being openly questioned by many Congress leaders now. Debates on his reluctance and political future have always been in vogue. The ‘Sonia’s refusal to the PM’s chair in 2004’ revelation comes with giving Rahul Gandhi the benefit of doubt of being a faithful son fearing for his mother’s life.
And therefore, – based on what has been ‘revealed’ so far, based on his interviews and excerpts – apart from giving some embarrassing moments and giving the TV channels some good rating points, the ‘revelations’ in the book are not expected to make further dents, beyond what the Congress party has already been inflicted with – obviously, by its own doings.
Or, it has really something explosive up its sleeve?
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/