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PM thanks Pranab Mukherjee on behalf of UPA


June 26, 2012 - New Delhi

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday expressed his government's gratitude to Pranab Mukherjee for his invaluable contribution to its work over the last eight years, and expressed hope to see him as India's next President.

"Our government owes a deep debt of gratitude to you for your invaluable contribution to its work over the last eight years. It is a testimony to your extraordinary abilities and your stature in public life that you have carried on onerous range of responsibilities with ease and accomplishment. Our colleagues in the Cabinet and I have benefitted from your wise counsel on innumerable occasions and we will all deeply miss your presence amidst us," said Dr. Singh in his letter to Mukherjee in response to his resignation tendered today.

"We hope to see you occupy the exalted position of President next month and are confident that our country and people will continue to benefit from your wisdom, knowledge and decades of experience in public life. I wish you success in the election to the highest office in the country. I also wish you sustained good health and happiness in the years to come," he added.

Dr. Singh in his letter said that he has received Pranab Mukherjee's resignation from the Union Cabinet.

"I have received your letter of June 26, 2012 resigning from the Union Cabinet. I have forwarded your resignation to Rashtrapatiji with the recommendation that it be accepted with immediate effect," he said.

Mukherjee resigned as the Finance Minister earlier this evening to contest the presidential election.

Mukherjee, who met the Prime Minister at his official 7, Race Course Road residence here turned emotional earlier today, saying he stands ready to embark on a new journey.

"Today, I stand ready to embark on a new journey. I feel honoured and humbled on my nomination as a candidate to contest the presidential election by UPA-II, supported by the Samajwadi Party, BSP, JD (U), Shiv Sena, CPI (M), Forward Bloc and some other parties for which election is scheduled to be held on 19th of July. Yet standing on the brink of such an honour, I also feel a tinch of sentiment at the thought of leaving behind my life as a political activist spanning over four decades," Mukherjee told the media outside the North Block here.

"I will miss my colleagues in the Ministry of Finance and I will also miss not being stopped by all of you, who are assemble here while getting into my car or coming out of my car in front of my office in North Block. Friends I have covered a distance in my life, but I always remind myself that I was born in a remote village in Bengal. I saw the lives of poor farmers and simple folks in rural India," he added.

Mukherjee further said every decision taken by him might not have been right, but it was taken in the best public interest.

"I know that not every decision, which I have taken might have been right. But I have taken those decisions keeping in view the interest of the people, whose faces appear before me more than often. Members of the media, friends like you, have always reminded me my responsibility," said Mukherjee.

"Most of the times through your criticism, sometimes through your appreciation, what I should do as a representative of the people, for the people. I hope this duty you will continue so long I am in public life. Thank you for the opportunity that you have given to me to interact with you," he added.

The resignation of Mukherjee, who is all set to emerge victorious in the race to Raisina Hill, brought an end to his distinguished 43-year-long political career.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) bid its farewell to Mukherjee earlier on Monday. He will file his nomination papers for the presidentship on Thursday.

Mukherjee became a member of the CWC in 1978.

The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The vote count will take place on July 22.

Pratibha Devisingh Patil's term as President ends on July 24.

ANI

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