Yesterday, 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 today. 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
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?