Pranab Mukherjee to leave FM office today
Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, who has been proved a key trouble shooter for his party is likely to leave his office today as he is fighting the presidential election from ruling UPA coalition. He will file his nomination papers on June 28.
According to Indian Constitution, the candidate who is fighting the election of President or Governor cannot hold any government's portfolio.
Before leaving his office, Congress Working Committee on Sunday gave him formal farewell with glowing praise from leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party president Sonia Gandhi.
The informal Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting saw some emotional moments with members recalling Mukherjee's long contribution to the party and the government and telling the senior leader that he will be missed.
While Manmohan Singh said Mukherjee's absence will be felt, Sonia Gandhi said he was a very capable candidate for presidency.
She said Mukherjee was not only presidential choice of the United Progressive Alliance but his candidature has got support from other political parties outside the ruling alliance as well.
Describing Mukherjee as the senior-most member of the CWC - the party's apex decision-making body - Sonia Gandhi said she was happy that he was "not only the Congress candidate but also the unanimous choice of the UPA".
Gandhi hoped Mukherjee will record an overwhelming victory and expressed her gratitude to parties supporting his candidature.
Manmohan Singh said that Mukherjee enjoyed wide respect in the government.
"We will feel his absence," the prime minister said.
Mukherjee told the meeting he always treated himself as a Congressman and "did all that I could have done."
"Whatever I did for the party, I got back in greater measure from it."
He expressed his gratitude to former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi besides Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.
--With IANS Inputs--
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