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Pranab thanks Sonia, says she, PM will decide FM

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2012 22:01 IST

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Finance minister and the government's most reliable troubleshooter, Pranab Mukherjee today said he's deeply honoured by his nomination for the President's post, and requested all political parties for support.

"I am deeply honoured by the nomination as candidate for the Presidential poll, I accept it with all humility," said Pranab.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhi for nominating him as the UPA candidate for the Presidential election.

"I am grateful to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for this recognition. I accept this offer with all humility," he told reporters at his office.

Mukherjee said, "In my long political career spanning over five decades, I have been fortunate to receive love, affection and confidence of my party colleagues and also the members and leaders of all political parties. I am deeply indebted to them. I will now again seek their indulgence and support for the next few weeks."

"We have requested all political parties to lend their support," he added.

On who will replace him as the finance minister, Mukherjee said, "It is up to the Prime Minister to decide who will be the next finance minister...the Congress President and the Prime Minister will decide.

"I do not think I am depository of all knowledge and expertise. In our government and in our party there are a number of people who can handle difficult economic situation. The Prime Minister himself is an eminent economist and under his stewardship we will overcome this temporary crisis."

Mukherjee was Friday named the United Progessive Alliance's (UPA) candidate for President and found backing from several parties including the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

"There is broad support for his candidature," Gandhi said after the UPA meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 7, Race Course Road residence.

"The leaders of the UPA constituents met today. It was decided to propose Mukherjee as the candidate for the office of the President of India," she said, reading the statement.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday telephoned the leaders of all major political parties and sought their support for Pranab Mukherjee's candidature for president, an official from the Prime Minister's Office told IANS.

The prime minister made the calls soon after Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced Pranab Mukherjee as the Congress' presidential candidate.

"He called leaders of all parliamentary parties," the official said.

Leaders of Opposition in both houses Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, BJP veteran L.K. Advani, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati were among the leaders Manmohan Singh telephoned.

with PTI inputs