"I do not believe in miracles," UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee remarked today, taking a jibe at his rival P A Sangma who is hoping for a miracle to see him through in the July 19 poll.
"I do not believe in miracles. I do not know whether any miracle may happen or not," Mukherjee, who is expected to comfortably win the Presidential race, told reporters on the second leg of campaign in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Mukherjee was asked about Sangma's comments that a miracle can happen and being a tribal leader, he will get enough votes to win the election.
Even as the Congress is scouting for an able hand to replace Mukherjee to deal with crisis management, both at the Centre and in the party, the veteran leader feels there is no dearth of talent in the party to fill his shoes.
Mukherjee has won accolades in dealing with tough situations in the Lok Sabha as Leader of the House, presiding over the key Finance ministry and over two dozen GoMs besides being the trouble-shooter for the Congress in dealing with demanding allies.
Asked by a reporter how he would miss politics after being an efficient crisis-manager, Mukherjee said it has been proved in the long history of the Congress that in the face of challenges, the party rises to the occasion.
"So, there will be no problem (on the crisis-management front)", Mukherjee later said in Bangalore at the office of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, where he interacted with members of the electoral college for the Presidential elections.
When asked about rising expectations from the President, the seat has become "hotter" and his expectations, he noted that some of the makers of modern India -- parliamentary system, democratic values, culture and institutions --Rajendra Prasad, S Radhakrishnan, Zakir Hussain and 10 other illustrious personalities had occupied the post of the President.
"So, I need not be worried if I am elected, for what course of action I shall have to follow", he observed.
Seeking to broaden his support base in the electoral college, Mukherjee renewed his appeal to political parties, including Trinamool Congress which are still undecided on the election for the President, to back his candidature.
"I am appealing to all those who have not yet decided to take decision in my favour, in favour of UPA," he said in Hyderabad after an interaction with the ruling Congress MPs, MLAs, MLCs in Andhra Pradesh.
He thanked Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, which support UPA from outside, and parties opposed to UPA like CPI(M), Forward Block, JD (U) and Shiv Sena for supporting his candidature.
Opposition parties like Telugu Desam, TRS and YSR Congress of Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy are yet to announce their decision on whom to support in the presidential election.
Mukherjee, who launched his campaign in Chennai yesterday by meeting MLAs, MPs of Congress and UPA allies like DMK, interacted with the Congress legislators during his visit to the Andhra Pradesh capital.
Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, incharge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana, Union Ministers M M Pallam Raju and D Purandeswari were among those present on the occasion.
City-based Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislators met Mukherjee at a five-star hotel after his meeting with the Congress leaders, sources said. MIM is a part of UPA.
The 77-year-old former Union Finance Minister said he would like to tour as many state capitals as possible till July 15.
In Bangalore, also drove to the residence of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and thanked him for the support of JDS, which has 26 MLAs in Karnataka and three Lok Sabha members from the State.
Mukherjee recalled that when his candidature was announced, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had rung up Deve Gowda, who "immediately responded to the Prime Minister's request".