It was Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s poor command over Hindi that had given the impression that he had hit out at RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he clarified the situation. “Laluji is an old friend and one of the most successful ministers in the UPA Cabinet. He wanted to know what I had said at the meeting. After I explained the situation in English, he realised that I had been misquoted due to my poor grasp over Hindi,” Mukherjee said at a “Meet The Press” programme at the Kolkata Press Club.
Mukherjee had created a political stir by reportedly saying at a public meeting in Samastipur, Bihar, that Prasad had used the Congress as a doormat and that he wouldn’t remain a minister after the elections.
The veteran Congress leader added that, henceforth, the RJD chief had requested him to deliver all his speeches in English.
Mukherjee’s clarification follows Prasad’s efforts late on Tuesday night to breach the growing chasm between his party and the Congress.
Talking about another estranged ally, Mukherjee said: “In politics, there are no enemies, only opponents.” Ever the consummate political strategist, he did not rule out the possibility of another Left-supported, Congress-led government at the Centre after the elections.
“Although I’m not denying the possibility of getting the Left’s support, I don’t think it will be necessary. Everything will depend on numbers after the results and the group closest to 272 (seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha) will form the government,” he said.