Pranab’s absence will be felt: PM

Congress party`s highest decision making body-Congress Working Committee (CWC)- bid farewell to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the UPA candidate for president`s post.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday praised veteran leader and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his five-decade-long association with the party and invaluable contribution to the UPA government.

Praising Pranab during the Congress Working Committee meet, convened to bid farewell to the party veteran, PM Singh said, “We are glad to see that the entire UPA has endorsed Pranab as the presidential candidate and he deserves to be the next President of the country. The Congress-led UPA government will miss his services.”

On her turn, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said, “Among those contending for the country’s job, Pranab is the best suited for the presidency. Congress will remain thankful to him for his long association and invaluable contribution to the party.

The meeting of the Congress Working Committee - the party`s apex decision-making body – was held at Sonia Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence, which was attended by all top party leaders.
As per reports, 33 out of 36 members attended the CWC meet today.

During the meeting, the CWC passed a resolution acknowledging Pranab Mukherjee`s contribution and four decades of service to the party.

Mukherjee will meet Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh tomorrow and resign from the primary membership of the party on June 26. He is also expected to file his nomination for the Presidential elections on June 28.

Mukherjee is all set to move to Rashtrapati Bhavan with a majority of votes in the electoral college favouring his candidature.

Pranab became a member of the CWC in 1978 and has been a key player in the top decision making body of the party.

Mukherjee, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1969, was for a long time member of the Upper House before his first direct election to Lok Sabha in 2004 from Jangipur in West Bengal. He repeated his victory in 2009.
In the Congress Party, Mukherjee became the treasurer of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in 1978. He also had a brief stint as Chairman of the Economic Advisory Cell of AICC between 1987 and 1989.

UPA ally Mamata Banerjee is yet to endorse Mr Mukherjee`s candidature even though he has found support from the JD(U), Shiv Sena and the CPM.

His opponent, Purno A Sangma, is being backed by the NDA and regional parties like the Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK.

With PTI Input