New Delhi: Lavishing praise on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his "exemplary public service", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday underlined that the success of the UPA government owed much to his "trouble-shooting skills" and the "inspiring leadership" of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
"There are few people in our politics today who can match his long and exemplary record of public service. All those who know him are familiar with his vast knowledge, prodigious memory and capacity for sustained hard work," Manmohan Singh said here.
He was speaking after presenting the first K. Karunakaran Foundation Best Administrator of India award to Mukherjee. The award has been instituted in honour of late Congress veteran K. Karunakaran.
"I believe that the successful management of the UPA is due substantially to the inspiring leadership of the Chairperson of the UPA Sonia Gandhi and to the very able trouble shooting skills of Pranabji," the prime minister said.
"In running the government, Pranabji has been my most valued colleague. We have consulted closely on all important decisions of our government," he said.
"I wish to thank him personally for all that he has done to help the government function effectively and cohesively," he said.
In a lighter vein, Manmohan Singh while praising Mukherjee said that there are few people in our politics today who can match "his long and exemplary record of public service."
"Less well known is that he is an avid reader with an abiding love for history, the arts and culture, not to mention his weakness for Bengali sweets!"
The prime minister was also all praise for Karunakaran, a former Kerala chief Congress and veteran Congress leader, saying he "exemplified the ideal traits that go into making a great political leader".
"He had the right mixture of political and administrative acumen, love for his people and the vision of a great patriot and a great nation builder."