If Pranab Mukherjee was PM in 2004, we could’ve averted 2014: Khurshid

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Salman Khurshid

If Pranab Mukherjee had become the prime minister instead of Manmohan Singh in 2004, the thrashing the Congress received in 2014 general elections could have been avoided, confessed former Union minister Salman Khurshid.

Surprising his own party, Congress, by his candour, Khurshid said, at the same time one mustn’t forget that Manmohan Singh was openly lauded when he was the finance minister from June 1991 to May 1996.

“But when he Singh the 1999 polls from what was thought to be the safest seat, South Delhi, he was shown the door by BJP’s Vijay Kumar Malhotra,” so wrote Khurshid in his new book “The Other Side of the Mountain”.

However, he said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s decision to choose Singh to lead the UPA-Iproved correct by the poll verdict five years later, when we returned to power”.

Khurshid, who had served as external affairs minister in UPA-II, says he was lucky to have the confidence of the incumbent prime minister. “I recall Singh chastising me for commenting that we couldn’t provide weapons to Afghanistan. President Karzai is a suspicious man. You have to be careful as the foreign minister, he wrote.

The book began to take shape after 2014 poll results were announced on May 16.

According to Khurshid, Sonia and Rahul were elected leaders of the Congress and there is no one even equipped to provide alternative leadership. Through this book, Khurshid said, truth must prevail over widespread falsehood spread over the past few years.

Allegations of scams such as 2G spectrum, 2010 Commonwealth Games and Coalgate considerably dented the UPA’s image. “But in all the charges probed by various agencies, “Simply because a decision was wrong or could have been taken in a different manner was enough to fuel a presumption of illegality and corruption,” wrote Khurshid.