New Delhi: UPA`s Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday demitted his office as the Finance Minister, leaving behind his four-decade career as a political activist.
Mukherjee put in his papers to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who told him that his presence would be deeply missed as the UPA dispensation owes a "deep debt of gratitude" to him for his "invaluable contribution”.
Mukherjee’s resignation came amidst a gloomy economic crisis and a policy paralysis the country is passing through.
India’s annual industrial growth fell to 0.1 percent in April even as the rupee slumped to an all time law of Rs 57.92 against the dollar.
The government, yesterday, announced a series of measures to revive the economy but it was too little to cheer the market.
Ahead of resigning as a Finance Minister, an emotional Mukerjee told reporters at his North Bloc office that he is leaving his job as Finance Minister to "embark on a new journey".
“I feel honoured and humbled on my nomination as a presidential candidate of the UPA-II, supported by SP, BSP , JDU Shiv Sena, CPI-M , Forward Bloc and some other parties” Mukherjee said in his last message as Finance Minister to the media.
"Yet, standing on the brink of such an honour, I will also feel a pinch of sentiments at the thought of leaving behind my life as a political activist, spanning over four decades," he told reporters.
Mukherjee said, while not every decision of his might have been right, but he has taken those decisions “keeping in view the interest of the people".
As 77-year-old veteran Congress leader took his last walk through the corridors of cream and red sandstone British era building that housed the finance ministry, it created a media frenzy that perhaps has no parallel in recent history.
Soon after Mukherjee’s resignation, the PM took charge of the Finance Ministry portfolio at a time when the country`s economy is going through a bad phase.
Singh, a renowned economist, will be assisted by two Ministers of State -- S S Palanimanickam and Namo Narain Meena.
Singh had earlier kept the charge of Finance Ministry for a short span during the UPA-I when P Chidambaram was moved to Home in the wake of Mumbai terror strikes in November 2008.
A former RBI Governor, Singh was credited with bringing about economic reforms in the country when he was the Finance Minister in the Narasimha Rao government in 1991.