I knew what my main job was today. So, I called Manmohan around 9.30 am. Mrs Singh said he’s packing because all the staff were watching TV and cheering. I told her get him on the phone. He took his time coming, which has never happened before…. I should have known what to expect. Anyway, I told him my plan. Manmohan, I am offering you the highest honour I can think of, I said. Bharat Ratna, he said.I was surprised, what’s happened to Manmohan?!So I explained — Manmohan, you have the honour of taking Rahul’s place and accepting responsibility for Congress’ defeat. In Congress, there’s no bigger honour than taking Rahul’s place, I said, and was convinced Manmohan would jump for it…. I mean, he always has.
Mamma mia! Manmohan said no! For the first time! He said when you have no power, you can’t take responsibility.
And he told me to read that fellow Baru. Some cheek!
So, I called Chidambaram. He picked up on first ring, well-spoken and intelligent-sounding as ever, and I thought this is my man! PC, I told him, you were our best minister and who but you can take Rahul’s place. To lead Congress, PC asked excitedly, to be our PM candidate for 2019? Oh dear, what’s wrong with these people…. No, no, PC, you take Rahul’s place and accept responsibility for our defeat.And PC started making excuses! Ma’am, I didn’t even contest, he said…then he said h .. to be with his son and cheer him up, then he said he has to finish a press release on how he was a better finance minister than Yashwant Sinha…. Who cares about that, I told him. PC said all edit page writers do…. I think most edit pages are with us, he said…. At that point, I ended the call.Sad, so sad…but there’s Digvijaya, always dependable, used to be always with Rahul…but not even Digvijaya was ready. He said he was sort of busy with that thing…. What thing, I asked him…he said, ma’am, you know, that thing. I told him I can’t understand what he’s talking about…and he said there are things bigger than politics… and then he rung off. And to think, we allowed him to go to UP with Rahul….
Who else? We have a press conference at around 4.30 pm, I don’t want to take Rahul…. I even thought of calling Pranab…in fact, PC said Pranab is the right candidate for taking responsibility, but he’s President now…can’t really ask him, can I? But in any case, when I called, his staff said he was learning a few words in Gujarati for a special occasion that’s coming up….
I would have called others…Kapil, Sushil, Kamal…but I made up my mind to take Rahul with me after all…because Robert came up to me and said, mom, I have been watching you … I feel bad, let me go with you and take full responsibility…. I was shocked, scared…really scared….
I called Rahul and said let’s go.
Where, mom, he asked in that sweet way of his. Just come with me, there will be some journalists, don’t worry… just say, you take full responsibility. for what, Rahul asked. How innocent he is. I will tell you later, I told Rahul. Now just come.
And Rahul said that line perfectly. Am really so proud of him.