Mukherjee having fruits in Jangipur on Saturday. Picture by Chayan Majumdar
June 9: Pranab Mukherjee today smiled and said Jangipur would always be on his mind, asked whether he would forget his constituency if he became the country’s President.
“No matter where I am, I am not going to forget Jangipur, my Lok Sabha seat. Jangipur has helped me get a foothold,” he said. Mukherjee was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from the constituency in Murshidabad in 2004.
The finance minister was asked about the possibility of his becoming President on the sidelines of a programme to unveil a branch of the Oriental Insurance Company at Rabindra Bhavan in Jangipur, about 250km from Calcutta.
When he was repeatedly asked about his chances, Mukherjee smiled again and said: “The President’s is the highest constitutional post in our country. Somebody will be elected to the post in accordance with the Constitution and so I have personally nothing to say on the matter. The UPA chairperson has been authorised to choose the nominee for the key post.”
Mukherjee, who was scheduled to attend a National Insurance Company event in Rajarhat at 4.30pm tomorrow, has cancelled it and will return to Delhi at noon to attend an “emergency” meeting, his political secretary Pradyut Guha said tonight. He was earlier expected to leave for the capital in the evening.
The senior Congress leader will attend the two programmes scheduled for the morning, including a convention of party workers in Jangipur.
Mukherjee had arrived in Calcutta from New Delhi last night after a 50-minute meeting with Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel in his North Block office.
Before that, he had attended a Congress core committee meeting where the coming presidential election figured prominently, a Congress source said.
Before leaving for Jangipur by helicopter this morning, Mukherjee said: “It is the Congress party that will take a final call on the matter (of who will be the President). No one can become the President on his own.”
Son Abhijit, however, did not think his father would become President. “I don’t think Baba would be nominated for the key post because it needs a consensus of the allies in the UPA,” the Nalhati MLA said, perhaps with Mamata Banerjee in mind.