'Azaad': Former Congress leader's bare-all autobiography exposes Rahul Gandhi

The book is bound to raise the temperature further in political circles and give ammunition to BJP and Rahul opponents

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  30 March 2023 5:07 AM GMT
Azaad by Ghulam Nabi Azaad

Hyderabad: Azaad, a bare-all autobiography by former senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, is likely to add fuel to fire in the ongoing Rahul Gandhi episode.

Rahul Gandhi's conviction and subsequent disqualification of his Lok Sabha membership have rocked the country and Congress supported by liked minded opposition parties is on the warpath with the NDA government.

The book is bound to raise the temperature further in political circles and give ammunition to BJP and Rahul opponents!

Ghulam Nabi Azad, 74, who has seen dramatic political events in the last five decades, quit Congress after facing humiliation and floated his political party “Democratic Progressive Azad Party.”

He narrates his experiences with the Gandhi family including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, and the latter’s lack of experience in handling sensitive matters including the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma episode which led to the latter quitting Congress and joining the BJP.

The autobiography is devoted to his half a century old association with the Congress party wherein he offers candid, captivating accounts of his relationship with the members of the Gandhi family, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, Maneka Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi (Vadra).

In his tweet on the book, Ghulam Nabi Azad says, “I have been honest in my book. This is my journey as a political leader but more importantly, this is a story of how the love of people shaped my personality and character.”

He also offers a personal perspective of working in government and Opposition. He doesn’t pull his punches but touches opinions on politicians of all shades including former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, Sitaram Kesri, political tricks played by N D Tiwari, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed to his equation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the latter eulogizing his services to the country in parliament at the end of his tenure.

Ghulam Nabi Azad began his political career with Indian National Congress and became block secretary in Kashmir in 1973. In his five decades in politics, he held many posts including State president, general secretary, and national president of the Indian Youth Congress, AICC General Secretary, Congress Parliamentary Board Member, and Congress Working Committee (CWC) member for three and half decades.

He served as a union minister in the government of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao, and Dr. Manmohan Singh—from 1982 to 2014. Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2005 to 2008, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha for 7 years till his retirement in 2021.

After being insulted, he resigned from the primary membership of the Congress party in August 2022 and launched his regional party Democratic Progressive Azad Party.

“From devising a strategy with Indira Gandhi to bringing Rajiv Gandhi into politics and convincing Sonia Gandhi to become the party chief, mediation efforts in the tussle between Rahul Gandhi and Himanta Biswa Sarma, Ghulam Nabi explores the challenges of leadership and the consequences of daring to bring fresh thinking into the political landscape,” M A Khan, former Congress Rajya Sabha member, told NewsMeter.

M A Khan, a loyal Congressman for five decades from Hyderabad, also quit the party and is now associated with Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The book will hit the stands on April 3, 2023.

According to Khan, Ghulam Nabi Azad quit Congress after being humiliated repeatedly.

“After serving the party for 5 decades and toiling to build it across the country, he was shown the door. I can proudly say that Ghulam Nabi Azad was one of the few secular leaders in real terms in the country, earning respect from leaders of all political parties and states across the country. He is one of the towering personalities and a troubleshooter, for whom country comes first,” asserts Khan.

One of the excerpts from the book reveals how Rahul Gandhi mismanages the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma episode. Himanta, a five-time MLA, quit Congress and joined BJP on August 23, 2015.

“When we arrived at Rahul’s residence the next morning, we saw Tarun Gogoi and his son Gaurav Gogoi, sitting with him. Rahul told us bluntly that there would be no change in the leadership. We pointed out to him that Himanta had the majority of MLAs and would rebel and quit the party. `Let him go’, Rahul said. The meeting was over. I am not sure if Rahul Gandhi said this to assert himself or because he was ignorant that his decision would have far-reaching consequences. I met Sonia Ji and apprised her of the next twist in the tale. Despite understanding the disastrous consequences that lay ahead, it is rather unfortunate that she did not assert herself as the party president. Instead, she asked me to request Himanta to not rock the boat,” Azad writes.

Next Story