Pranab Mukherjee was more qualified to become PM: Manmohan Singh

Pranab Mukherjee

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Friday made a candid admission that he thought former President Pranab Mukherjee had reasons to be upset when he was appointed as the prime minister of the country in 2004. "In that capacity I worked closely with Pranab Mukherjee, who was then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Minister for Commerce and Minister for External Affairs and that association is there till right now", he said.

Singh, who served two consecutive terms as prime minister, also said the Mukherjee was better suited for the coveted post as he was "better qualified". Mukherjee, in his speech, described the Congress as a coalition in itself, as it brought all ideas on one platform.

"In 2004, Sonia ji chose me to be the Prime Minister".

"It was hard to have one coalition within and another outside". PV Narasimha Rao invited me to become the finance minister.

Singh said while his entry into politics was "accidental", Pranab Mukherjee was a politician by choice and is one of the greatest politicians living in our country.

He was speaking at the launch function of Mukherjee's new book, The Coalition Years: 1996-2012.

Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said: "Our former President Pranab Mukherjee has always been our torchbearer". He said running the coalition government seemed hard but everything worked out smoothly.

"He is a politician by choice and it comes naturally to him".

Manmohan Singh during the launch also mentioned that this appointment did not impact their relations. "I became a politician by accident". The event was billed as an opportunity to unite Opposition leaders and it had an impressive guest list, including former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, DMK leader Kanimozhi, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader S Sudhakar Reddy. "We shared a good working relationship", he said.

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