Friday, June 15, 2012



I have been in receipt of the following comments regarding what I had stated about the role of Jawaharlal Nehru in the non-nomination of Rajaji as the Congress Party’s candidate to be the first President of India.


Your account of Rajaji not making it to the President's post doesn't conform to what really happened.          

Nehru actually wanted Rajaji as President and worked hard in his favour. But a section of the Congress, dominated by North Indian hardliners, strongly resisted the idea touting the ground that Rajaji had worked against the Congress during 1942-47, by actually canvassing for partition and by keeping out of  the Quit India movement. Ultimately Nehru succumbed to the pressure to make Rajendra Prasad the President,. However, to show his solidarity with Rajaji and where his true feelings lay, Nehru accompanied Rajaji to the airport at the time he left for Chennai and saw him off after a warm embrace.

          CS (C.Subramanian) also says in his HAND OF DESTINY that Nehru backed Rajaji but had to yield to critics of Rajaji's past actions.


Thank you very much for this article which is excellent, as usual, and is an appeal for sanity. Whether Sonia Gandhi and her sycophants as well as Mulayam Yadav would heed it during the very short time at their disposal remains to be seen. There is one point, however, from which I must dissent.

Whatever the feeling at that time in "Madras"  in 1950, the fact is that Nehru tried hard and persistently to get Rajaji  elected as India's first president. But the support for Rajendra Prasad within the Congress party was much too strong. Moreover, Rajen Babu had full support of Vallabhbhai Patel. At one stage, under much persuation by Nehru, Prasad thought of withdrawing from the race but Patel taunted him: "What can the baraat do when the dulha (groom) runs away?"

A reader has also drawn my attention to an article on this subject carried by “The New York Times” on June 14,2012, available at

In view of the account from these three excellent sources, my statement that Nehru did not support the candidature of Rajaji for being the first President of India is incorrect. I stand corrected.


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