Minister for Finance

15th January, 1982.Indira Gandhi made me Deputy Minister for Finance. Pranab Mukherjee was the Finance Minister. Many people took a dig at Indiraji's decision to make me Finance Minister. "Poojary has been made minister for a major portfolio held by eminent people like Subramanyam and Mathai. He won't survive. He will be thrown out of the Ministry soon," this is how people reacted on my induction as Minister. But I completed 6 years and two months in Finance Ministry without a break which is a record. I served as a Minister for 8 years. It was possible only because of Indiraji's unflinching confidence in me.

She used to seek my opinion even while selecting Chief Ministers.

I got the chance to travel from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. There were many senior leaders in the Party. But Indira used to rely on my recommendation to identify suitable CM candidates. I was felt humbled by the faith she had in me and tried my best to do justice to the responsibilities assigned by her.

NEHRU GANDHI FAMILY Indira Gandhi's family was very rich. Jawaharlal Nehru was a Barrister. But Indira Gandhi donated all the land including Anand Bhavan to the Nation. Her opponents kept making allegations that she had stashed money here and there. Janata Party after coming to power in 1977 searched her houses and bank accounts. They found nothing. That is why I surrendered to Indira Gandhi and her sacrifices.

The entire Nehru family has fought for country's freedom. Nehru plunged into Freedom struggle immediately after his return to India. His wife succumbed to tuberculosis after frequent visits to jail. Though they are Kashmiri Brahmins, they loved the people of the country irrespective of caste, creed and colour. They sacrificed everything for the country. What for have Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi died? And for whom? Today, some people use unparliamentary language about the family which sacrificed their lives for the unity of the country. Some unscrupulous persons are even trying to distort history for pushing their own propaganda. But the common man of the country still has respect for the Nehru- Indira Gandhi family.

Mahatma Gandhi knew Jawaharlal Nehru's capabilities and he selected Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. Today, some people are trying to wean off Vallabhbhai Patel from Congress. Sardar Patel was a congressman and he fought for freedom with fellow congressmen. Congress always looked at him with respect. It was Gandhiji who insisted for Ambedkar's inclusion in the Union Cabinet and it was the great Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar who ensured social justice, freedom of speech and other constitutional guarantees to citizens of India while envisioning a glorious future of India on the global roadmap. It was Congress which identified Ambedkar and entrusted him the responsibility of framing the Constitution. Congress has always followed inclusiveness and has tried to unite the country.

People of our country are not fools. People do recognise and will continue to recognise the sacrifices of the Nehru family despite the false propaganda being unleashed. Some party leaders talk about 'Congress Mukth Bharat' but nobody can take the Congress out of Bharat. Despite attempts to distort history, nobody can erase the country's history. Congress led the freedom struggle and made India an Independent and Secular nation. Not only India, the whole word has accepted Mahatma Gandhi's principles of non-violence. We need to progress by adopting those principles.

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