Former Finance Minister and UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee expressed no qualms on missing out on becoming Prime Minister.
Commending Manmohan Singh as the best man for the job, Pranab said “I don’t regret not being the Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh is worthy of being PM. He will be the second man who’ll complete two terms.”
In an interview to a TV channel, Pranab reiterated that despite being a strong contender for the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the past, he did not concern himself with the question.
In fact the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) presidential nominee said, “I feel honoured and humbled that the UPA leadership has nominated me for the President’s post. I am happy to do what my party wanted me to do. I don’t regret that I did not become the Prime Minister.”
The Congress old-timer, who was virtually sidelined during the Rajiv Gandhi era, has earned his stripes as the UPA government’s biggest crisis manager and consensus builder.
Pranab, however, rejected his competitor PA Sangma’s challenge to a debate. Pranab said, “I love Sangma, but where is the question of a debate?”
“There is no issue to be debated upon. Debate takes place on issues raised by political parties during general elections,” he added.
Pranab also rejected Sangma’s conscience votes claim saying, “Where is the question of conscience? When a partyman accepts his party’s decision, is it against his conscience?”
As the numbers add up in his favour ahead of the presidential elections, Pranab expressed hope that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee would support his candidature, “I hope she takes a decision at an appropriate time and backs me.”
And the man used to being in the hot seat has already charted out his plans after retiring from politics. “After retiring from politics, I wanted to read books. (The) Library would have been my destination.”