Former President Pranab Mukherjee had mentioned in the third edition of his autobiography, The Coalition Years: 1996-2012 that he was upset after being sidelined for the Prime Minister’s post in 2004. When UPA formed government in 2004, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had chosen Manmohan Singh to lead the country despite Pranab Mukherjee being more qualified and possessing more administrative experience than him. Even former vice-president Hamid Ansari in his farewell speech had mentioned that Muslims are feeling insecure in India. Why do leaders like Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari remain silent when they were holding the post of President and Vice-President? Why do they pass comments only after demitting their office? At that time Ansari too had received flak for his statements from political parties and activists. In his book, Mukherjee has mentioned about his political journey in UPA from 1996 to 2012.
Anandrao Adsul, Shiv Sena MP said, “The statement issued by Manmohan Singh about Pranab Mukherjee shows that groupism is prevalent in Congress. It is also unfortunate that Ansari has made such statements after demitting the office. He never said anything during his tenure as the vice-president. If Pranab would have become the prime minister in 2004 then he could have posed a challenge to Sonia Gandhi. Mukherjee is such a leader who also used to oppose Sonia Gandhi’s decision. Congress made him president to calm him down. If Mukherjee becomes Prime Minister then he could have played a vital role in the decision making process whereas President has a limited role to play.”
Abdul Sattar Abdul Nabi, Congress MLA said, “Whatever Manmohan Singh had said about Pranab Mukherjee is right as he had prime ministerial ambitions. A person speaks truth after retirement. Manmohan and Pranab are best friends and they had issued their personal views. Both Pranab and Hamid Ansari were holding constitutional posts hence they remained silent during that time but now they are free to voice their opinion after retirement.”
C Chandrashekar, General Secretary of Red Flag organisation, said, “They could have made these statements earlier. The statement issued by Ansari is right as Dalits and Muslims are feeling insecure in the country. Both these leaders are opportunists. Corruption and inflation had increased during the reign of Manmohan Singh led UPA government which helped BJP to emerge victorious in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Groupism exists in Congress, BJP and RSS too.”
Charul Joshi, CPI activist said, “Ansari had issued the right statement but he should have made it when he was the vice-president. Pranab Mukherjee thinks that if he had become Prime Minister then he would have become more successful. Mukherjee was an elected legislator whereas Manmohan Singh was a Rajya Sabha member. Many times politicians never speak about such issues publicly. They should have spoken about it earlier. Since Mukherjee and Ansari were holding constitutional posts hence they remained silent on these issues to avert any controversy.”