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'I stand ready to embark on a new journey': Pranab Mukherjee

June 26, 2012 - New Delhi

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who will tender his resignation in a short while from now before filing his nomination for the presidential poll, turned emotional on Tuesday, 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 Pranab Mukherjee, who is all set to emerge victorious in the race to Raisina Hill, will draw an end distinguished 43-year-long political career.

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

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi were among those present at Congress President Sonia's residence along with the CWC members and permanent invitees on Monday to acknowledge the contributions of Mukherjee, considered to be the party's chief troubleshooter.

Mukherjee became a member of the CWC in 1978.

Mukherjee is a senior member of the Cabinet Committees on Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Affairs, Prices, Security, Unique Identification Authority of India, World Trade Organization, and heads the Group of Ministers Committee on the Dabhol dispute.

Mukherjee had earlier said that those political parties, which had not taken any decision to support his candidature, should do so.

The remark was made in an indirect reference to West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, who has still not backed his candidature for the top post.

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.


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