Pranab woos Mamata, to demit office on June 26
Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the UPA's Presidential nominee, who is in Kolkata on a two-day visit, on Saturday made a veiled appeal to Trinamool Congress to support his candidature.
"Except for one partner all UPA allies have supported my candidature. Non-UPA partners like Samjawadi Party, BSP, besides other parties like CPI(M), AIFB, JD(U), Shiv Sena have also supported my candidature”, Mukherjee told reporters.
"My prayer is that those who have not yet taken a decision please support the UPA presidential candidate," he added.
Trinamool Congress, which broke ranks with the UPA on the Presidential choice is yet to decide on supporting any presidential candidate after former president APJ Abdul Kalam, whom it had backed, declined to contest.
Mukherjee will resign as Union Finance Minister on June 26 ahead of filing nomination papers for the Presidential election.
Prior to his resignation as the Minister after two years in office, Mukherjee toured Kolkata and some other places of his home state.
"This is my last visit to Kolkata as the Finance Minister," he said before leaving for his ancestral home in Birbhum.
"After that I will not be able to speak anything either on government or on party matters," he said.
Mukherjee turned nostalgic at his ancestral house in Birbhum district, saying a chapter in his four-decade-old political career has ended after his nomination as UPA's presidential candidate.
"I was directly involved in politics for a long period. My 40 year political career is at an end," said 77-year-old Mukherjee who was made Finance Minister after UPA-II came to power in May 2009 and held the portfolios of Defence and External Affairs in UPA-I.
"I am overwhelmed by the reception I have received here. I have been born here. I studied here. I am basically a village boy. Whenever I found time I would visit my village," Mukherjee said after taking the salute at a guard of honour by the police.
"Before beginning a new chapter in my life, I wanted to visit my village," Mukherjee, who worships Goddess Durga at his ancestral home each year, said as villagers showered petals and blew conch shells.
He took the blessings of the goddess at the temple in the courtyard of his house. The temple is being renovated. He took the blessings from the bamboo and straw structure that will be fashioned into the goddess.
Thousands of people lined up on both sides of the road leading to Miriti, while tribal women danced to the beat of drums and bands played to greet Mukherjee on his last visit to his village as union Finance Minister.
The convoy stopped at many places on the 187-km journey by road from Kolkata with Mukherjee alighting briefly to greet people with folded hands.
"I seek your blessings. Bless me," a tireless Mukherjee, who had arrived in Kolkata from Delhi yesterday, said again and again.
WBPCC president Pradip Bhattacharya, party leader Asit Mal, MLA and Mukherjee's son Abhijit accompanied him.
77-year-old Mukherjee was made Finance Minister after UPA-II came to power in May 2009. Earlier in UPA-I, the veteran Congress leader held the portfolios of Defence and External Affairs.