New Delhi, June 3: Congress leaders’ fears that the upcoming autobiography of the late Arjun Singh might contain embarrassing “revelations” about the party and the Nehru-Gandhi family have now subsided, sources say.
The apprehensions had increased when Arjun’s daughter Veena sought to take hold of the manuscript for a final review, but now she has been prevented from doing so, the sources added.
| File picture of Arjun Singh and Sonia Gandhi
Veena, who had rebelled against the party and contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls as an Independent from family turf Sidhi, does not enjoy the Congress’s trust. Party leaders feared she might make additions to, or subtractions from, the manuscript, which is not in Arjun’s handwriting but was dictated to a stenographer.
Arjun’s death in March last year had kicked off a battle among his three children over the control of the manuscript since the late politician’s wishes on this were not yet known.
However, the matter has been settled after the recent revelation of Arjun’s will, which states that his eldest son Abhimanyu Singh would have sole rights over the book if it could not be printed during Arjun’s lifetime.
Veena refused to talk despite several attempts by this newspaper to contact her.
Congress leaders are praising Arjun’s sagacity in choosing his eldest son to handle the autobiography, expected to be published in a few months’ time, despite the less-than-cordial relations between them. Abhimanyu, a businessman in Bangalore, has no interest in politics and therefore should have no serious grudge against the Congress.
Arjun’s younger son Ajay Singh is the Congress legislature party leader in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly and had campaigned against his sister during the 2009 elections. He, too, would not want to embarrass the party, at least for fear of harming his own political career.
There are indications, however, that Veena is inching closer to some BJP leaders. She is not on talking terms with either of her brothers and her relations with her mother have been less than ideal, sources said.
Sources say Arjun had been keen to have the book published during his lifetime and was lending the manuscript the final touches when he passed away. The former chief minister and Union minister was involved in several key and controversial events and his version of them would carry weight.
For instance, he might have been expected to say something interesting about the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy and the way Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson was allowed to leave India, the 1985 Rajiv-Longowal accord in Punjab, or the Babri Masjid demolition.
People claiming to be aware of the book’s contents, however, say Arjun has more or less stuck to the known facts instead of making controversial revelations.
They said there could be some finger-pointing over the Rajiv-Longowal accord as there were allegations that some Rajiv Gandhi aides did not have much faith in the agreement. As to the let-off for Anderson, Arjun had during his lifetime given a clean chit to Rajiv.