New Delhi: "I may not be here," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in the Lok Sabha triggering instant smiles from the members as speculation rages about his becoming the next President.
"I don`t mean that", he sought to clarify quickly in an apparent reference to moving to Rashtrapati Bhawan about which BJP leader Yashwant Sinha spoken yesterday.
There was all round laughter in the House as Mukherjee made these remarks watched by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other Cabinet Ministers before passage of the Finance Bill.
He clarified that he was referring to changes in the direct and indirect tax laws which would increase the tax GDP ratio substantially in seven to eight years.
"Thank you, thank you," Mukherjee said looking at BJP benches soon after the House was adjourned for the day after the passage of the Finance Bill.
BJP members were heard shouting "mubarak ho" and seen thumping their desks.