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

HRD Minister presents to ex-President anthology of his convocation addresses

Pranab Mukherjee was more qualified to become PM, had reasons to be upset, says Manmohan Singh

He said Pranab Mukherjee knew that neither he (Manmohan Singh) had the choice or any part in the decision. The book has an account of the larger governance phenomenon in India - coalition politics "as seen through the eyes of one of the chief architects of the post-Congress era of Indian politics". When Mr. Yechury described Pranab Da, as he fondly called the former President, as a "man with an elephant's memory", Congress president Sonia Gandhi sitting in the front row of the audience corrected it to "two elephants' memory". He had every reason to feel a grievance that he was better qualified than I was to become the Prime Minister. "But that was done", he said.

Speaking at the event, Mr Yadav said that a book about coalitions is very useful in the present context. Mr Mukherjee praised Dr Singh for successfully running a coalition government.

Speaking on the occasion of release of his latest series of his autobiography "The Coalition Years: 1996-2012", Mukherjee noted: "I can not claim to have the objectivity of a historian, which I am not".

Singh said with their relation smoothened, they ran the government as a cohesive team.

The book being published by Rupa Publications tracks Mukherjee's journey from 1996 and explores the highs and lows that characterized 16 years of "one of the most tumultuous periods in the nation's political history", according to the synopsis. "I became a politician by accident when P V Narasimha Rao asked me to become the finance minister", he said. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was present at the launch too.

"So before the elections, we have got this book on coalition governments which may come handy", he said. Akhilesh, who was recently re- elected the SP president, said people earlier dealt with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav but would now deal with him.

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