People like Pranab Mukherjee needed everywhere: Cong

Cong kept up the suspense on Pranab Mukherjee as its Prez poll nominee by remarking that "such people are required everywhere for benefit of society".

New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday kept up the suspense on whether it would make Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee its Presidential poll nominee by remarking that "such people are required everywhere for the benefit of society".

To a series of questions on Mukherjee including on his much-acclaimed reply to the Finance Bill in the Rajya Sabha, party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said "this is nothing new for Pranabda. He has always spoken like this."

She was asked whether Mukherjee being greeted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh followed by everyone from the cabinet after the Finance Bill was passed meant that he was a serious contender for the President’s post.

Chowdhary said the media should rather congratulate him on the fact that he had not consulted a single word from any book while delivering his speech.

To another question on whether Mukherjee is required in Rashtrapati Bhawan, she said "I think such people are required everywhere for the benefit of society".

Chowdhary had a fortnight ago raked up a controversy with her remark that Mukherjee was too important for the party and the government, a comment which ws interpreted as Congress ruling out Mukherjee`s candidature for the top post.

Chowdhary had, however, immediately, clarified that she was not ruling out anyone`s candidature and that she was "partially quoted" that gave such an impression.

The party has been maintaining that it is for the widest possible consensus on the matter and in no hurry to name the "UPA candidate" for the Constitutional post. An announcement is likely only after June 10.

Congress has already held initial discussions with allies Trinamool Congress, DMK, NCP, and RLD and smaller parties.
Party President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday held consultations in this regard with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan but there was no official word on what transpired at the meeting.