Does Pranab Mukherjee’s Book Say That Sonia Gandhi Is Anti-Hindu?
An article falsely claimed that Pranab Mukherjee’s book mentioned that Sonia Gandhi is anti-Hindu.
An article falsely claimed that Pranab Mukherjee’s book mentioned that Sonia Gandhi is anti-Hindu.(Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Does Pranab Mukherjee’s Book Say That Sonia Gandhi Is Anti-Hindu?

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CLAIM

An article published on a website called East Coast Daily mentions that former President Pranab Mukherjee, in his book, The Coalition Years, stated that Congress President Sonia Gandhi is anti-Hindu. The article, published on 12 September, is titled as “Sonia Gandhi hate Hindus (sic), says former President Pranab Mukherjee.”

(Photo: Website screengrab)

The archived version of the article can be viewed here.

The article further claims that the book says that several decisions that were taken during the UPA regime, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, were against Hindus.

The article goes on to say that according to the book, Sonia Gandhi and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa conspired against the arrest of Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati in a “false case of murder”.

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WHAT’S THE TRUTH?

The exact excerpt from the book actually reads:

"Nothing exemplifies my temper more than the episode that involved the arrest of Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, on 12  November 2004. It was a time when the entire country was celebrating Diwali. During the Cabinet meeting, I was extremely critical of the timing of the arrest and questioned if the basic tenets of secularism of the Indian state were confined only to Hindu monks and seers? Would the state machinery dare to arrest a Muslim cleric during Eid festivities? MK Narayanan, then Special Advisor to Prime Minister, also agreed with me. I immediately issued instructions for the Shankaracharya to be released on bail."

Abheek Barman, a Delhi-based journalist who has read the book, told The Quint that the book does not claim that Sonia Gandhi is an anti-Hindu.

“The article is making these claims on the basis of an excerpt written on pages 208-209 in the book. But nowhere do Sonia Gandhi or Jayalalithaa feature in these lines,” he said.

While Pranab Mukherjee did write about Sonia Gandhi in his book, his tone and description are not in sync with what is being claimed in East Coast Daily’s article.

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Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“I believe this detachment and her decision of not being aligned with anybody in particular is her greatest strength…Like other illustrious members of her family, Sonia has adopted a truly pan-India approach…

Looking back, I can say that as the longest serving Congress president, Sonia’s positive contribution to strengthen the Congress party has not received due attention in the analysis of contemporary political observers…

The Quint reached out to East Coast Daily in order for their clarification on the source of the claims made in the article. They informed us that they had based their article on a blog called Struggle for Hindu Existence, from a post titled Sonia Gandhi hates Hindus!, Says Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s New Book. The article can be read on its website.

The archived version of the article can be viewed here.

A screenshot of the website.
A screenshot of the website.
(Photo courtesy: Screenshot/Struggle for Hindu existence website)
A screenshot of the few paragraphs of the article from the website.
A screenshot of the few paragraphs of the article from the website.
(Photo courtesy: Screenshot/Struggle for Hindu existence website)

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