New Delhi: APJ Abdul Kalam was ready to swear Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Minister after the 2004 polls when he was the President despite pressure from various political leaders before Manmohan Singh was nominated for the post--a decision that “surprised” him.
Kalam’s stand on the political situation after the Lok Sabha elections lifted the veil on an episode that has been intensely speculated upon that he was reluctant to appoint the Italian-born Gandhi as the country’s Prime Minister.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam
In a forthright account of his five-year tenure as President in a book titled “Turning Points”, Kalam recalls that had Gandhi staked a claim herself he would have appointed her as it was the only “Constitutionally tenable” option available to him.
The former President says he was almost certain that Gandhi would head the UPA government but Rashtrapati Bhavan had to rework the appointment letter after the Congress chief nominated Singh as the Prime Minister.
“During this time there were many political leaders who came to meet me to request me not to succumb to any pressure and appoint Mrs Gandhi as the prime minister, a request that would not have been Constitutionally tenable. If she had made any claim for herself I would have had no option but to appoint her,” the book says.