Dressed in his trademark kurta and jacket, as Narendra Modi walked in to the study of the Rashtrapati Bhavan a smiling Pranab Mukherjee greeted the next Prime Minister warmly.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome,” Mukherjee was heard telling Modi as the latter shook hands with him, handing over a bouquet.
During the brief chat before both got down into the formalities about the swearing-in of the new ministers, Mukherjee attributed Modi’s victory as “grand”.
Modi returned the compliment — he referred to Mukherjee’s call in his last Republic Day speech for a stable government and quipped that his direction has been followed.
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Mukherjee is known to have excellent equation with leaders across political parties but his interactions with Modi had been rather limited. The reason: while Mukherjee’s political life always veered around Delhi, Modi’s centre-stage was Gujarat.
“Except DMK chief Karunanidhi, late Kerala CM K Karunakaran and of course West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, Mukherjee’s interaction with other chief ministers had been limited,” pointed out a source close to Mukherjee, “he personally knows many other BJP leaders far better than he knows Modi.”
During his election campaign, Modi had raked up Mukherjee’s name. On one instance, Modi wooed voters saying if he comes to power, West Bengal’s progress would speed up as there would be “Pranabda” above his head.
In another rally, he said that if Mukherjee had been made the PM instead of Manmohan Singh, things would have been different.