‘Margaret Alva Wrote Book for Publicity’ – R V Deshpande
Bengaluru: There is a growing feeling among the Congress party circles here that a trend is getting set among a few senior party leaders as they keep aging.
Some recent utterances and conduct of Janardhana Poojary, S M Krishna, C K Jaffer Sharieff and a few others may have given credence to this impression. The latest to join this perceived list is Margaret Nazareth-Alva, former Union minister and former governor Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, according to long-time loyalists.
For long, Alva and state heavy industries minister R V Deshpande had vied with each other to control Uttar Kannada’s political scenario, they say. When their cold war reached embarrassing proportions, Alva was shifted and made a state governor during the UPA regime.
Her grip over the national-level politics and impeccable command over English and spoken Hindi may have helped her to have a successful gubernatorial career. She had demitted office in 2014 and while doing so had hinted at her intention to write an autobiography.
Many party functionaries and workers fail to understand as to why such successful leaders keep mum as long as they enjoy power, posts and perks and begin their rumblings after retirement. The lower-rung functionaries attribute to a likely feeling of missing the limelight or being sidelined.
Alva launched her autobiography ‘Courage and Commitment’ a few days ago. She has touched a sensitive issues, with direct – if not hard-hitting – references to the party’s top brass. She has not spared even her adversary back home, Deshpande.
Hitting back at her accusations, Deshpande has now said that Alva wrote the book for mere publicity. He asserted that he had not conspired against her in any way.
He said that he always treated Margaret as his elder sister. Her father-in-law Joachim Alva and mother-in-law were Congress stalwarts and under their influence she had joined politics and hence commanded respect, he asserted.
The party had entrusted her with high positions like four-time Rajya Sabha member, Union minister and state governor. After enjoying these benefits, said Deshpande, it was unfair of her to have spoken against party president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.
As for a reference to the late chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde, Deshpande said that in the past he had maintained and still continued to maintain good relationship with his family.
If at all Hegde had not trusted him (Deshpande) the matter would have found a mention when he was alive, he said.
Speaking further, Deshpande reiterated that he had not done anything against Alva nor found it necessary to do so. However, her references in the book had hurt him a lot, he concluded.
The Congress party has officially responded to Alva’s book and has questioned as to why enlightenment had dawned on her after decades-long political career. An official spokesperson termed the revelations as ‘tools’ to market the book.
Chief spokesperson of the party Randeep Surjewala said that while being in the new age of marketing many things had to be said. In order to make a book sell, he has been quoted as saying, “many things are needed to be said and many things are actually said or made to be said, which compromise with history and economical with truth, or a new found definition of facts. The important issue that surprises all of us is why does this enlightenment come after 30 years of continuation in office and a long political career.”