Pranab Mukherjee was better qualified than me to become PM: Manmohan Singh

In the third and final volume of his autobiography'The Coalition Years 1996-2012 released on Friday evening Mukherjee also says Gandhi was inclined to make him the Home Minister after Mumbai terror attacks but the then Prime Minister Singh's advice

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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. PV Narasimha Rao invited me to become the finance minister.

Terming the 10 years of UPA rule under Congress as "successful", former President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday that his latest autobiography was an account of how an individual saw the political drama unfolding and tried to steer clear of any personal details.

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At the launch of the former President's memoirs, The Coalition Years, which brought together key Opposition leaders on the same stage, Dr. Singh described Mr. Mukherjee as one of the greatest living Congressmen and parliamentarians, and recalled their association in the Finance Ministry since the early 1970s. The former prime minister also shared the incident about how he stepped into politics.

Pranab Mukherjee was widely expected to be the Congress choice for the Prime Minister's post after Sonia Gandhi declined to lead the government in 2004. Various other leading Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present at the event, reported ANI. He said Pranab Mukherjee knew that neither he (Manmohan Singh) had the choice or any part in the decision.

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Singh also underlined how his elevation did not impact the relations between them. He said running the coalition government seemed hard but everything worked out smoothly. He said history would record Mukherjee's great contribution to the management of Indian polity. "We ran the government as a cohesive team of which Pranab Mukherjee was the most important member", he reminisced.

"It is absolutely (an account of) how I looked at men and matters as an active political participant", he added.

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Akhilesh Yadav, in his brief speech, said Mukherjee's book would come in handy for young politicians like him when elections are due just like good notes ahead of exams.

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