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It is Difficult to Reconcile Regional With National Interests in Coalition Governments: Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi, October 19:Former President Pranab Mukherjee remains in the news even after his term ended almost three months ago. Earlier this week President Pranab Mukherjee released his ‘Coalition Years’ has trained the spotlight on the major events that have shaped the UPA governments.

During the launch of his book, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Mukherjee was better suited for the PM’s position on which he said, “Dr Manmohan Singh is always nice. Surely, he was a much better PM. I had said it at that time, and much later also, that doctor sahib was the best PM among the available Congressmen”.

He said that in coalition system a Prime Minister does not enjoy the absolute authority of including his colleagues unlike in case of a single-party majority government.

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The decision was taken after Congress President Sonia Gandhi refused to become the PM, there was no other choice but Manmohan Singh.

Mukherjee further said that the state which he represented was under the Left rule for 34 years. “If a leader is going to be the PM, should not his state not ruled by his own party? Dr Manmohan Singh did not have that disadvantage- Congress was then ruling Punjab,” Mukherjee said.

During the release of his book, Mukherjee also said that the promotion of Rahul Gandhi as the president of Congress should not be judged by outsiders as a travesty of democracy.

He also praised Rahul Gandhi as a “young man” with the ability “to respond to change, to adapt, to adjust.”

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“These qualities in Rahul is a crucial trait,” he said, citing Mr Gandhi’s grandmother Indira and father Raji Gandhi, both former prime ministers, to illustrate his point.

“A leader is not made, Smt Indira Gandhi was not readily made by anybody like a Madame Tussauds was statue…circumstances threw her leadership, similarly circumstances threw leadership of Rajiv Gandhi,” Mukherjee said to media.

Rahul’s elevation to the party’s top post is to take place in next few weeks. Most of the Congress leaders admit that Rahul Gandhi will be elected unopposed because there is no one in the party who would like to run against him.

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Last week Congress president Sonia Gandhi indicated that the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the party president could be done “soon”.

“Soon it will be done,” she said when asked by reporters at a function here as to when Rahul Gandhi, who is at present the vice president of the party, will be elevated.

Earlier in the day, the Uttarakhand BJP said the State Congress resolution seeking Mr. Gandhi’s elevation was part of its “Beta Bachao, Beta Banao” campaign to keep internal democracy away.

Terming those seeking Mr. Gandhi’s elevation as his “courtiers”, BJP media in-charge Devendra Bhasin said they were saying this to just please their boss.

(With inputs from PTI)

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