Pranab was better qualified than me to be PM: Manmohan Singh

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Pranab Mukherjee would be justified in feeling aggrieved on being passed over for the top job in 2004 since the former President was better qualified to lead the government, but added that he “had no choice in the matter” as the decision to install him was that of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

“In 2004, Mukherjee had all reason to feel the grievance that he was better qualified than me to be the PM but he knew that I had no choice,” Singh said at a function to release the third installment of Mukherjee’s book ‘Coalition Years’.

At the launch of the former President’s memoirs, The Coalition Years, which brought together key Opposition leaders on the same stage, Dr. Singh described Mr. Mukherjee as one of the greatest living Congressmen and parliamentarians, and recalled their association in the Finance Ministry since the early 1970s.

The formal book launch turned into a virtual show of strength for many in the Opposition as the former President was joined by Dr. Singh, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), CPI leader Sudhakar Reddy and Kanimozhi of the DMK on the dais.