My knowledge of Hindi is inadequate: Pranab

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 3 2009, 03:39am hrs
Pranab Mukherjee, the UPAs No 2 minister has always been held in high esteem by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, but the external affairs minister has conceded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it to the top post because he enjoyed her full confidence.

In a candid interview to a television channel, the seniormost minister in the UPA has also accepted his inability to speak fluently in hindi may have gone against him while being considered for prime ministership. I am a very critically self-analysing person. To run this country coming from north India and not be fluent in Hindi is totally unacceptable..My total knowledge of Hindi is inadequate he said.

Mukherjee, whose role in the present government undeniably goes beyond his external affairs portfolio, has always been thought to be more than eligible for the top post.

In the last five years, Mukherjee has headed over 50 GoMs, headed the most critical ministries in the government and looked after the affairs of the whole country whenever Prime Minister Singh has been away from the country or absent from work. However, sections in the Congress think that his very outstanding capabilities may have come in the way of his elevation as Prime Minister.

You must have a strong backing from the political party and particularly the state from where you are coming. I am representing a state of the Left party where the Congress party is not in power for a long 32 years, Mukherjee told NDTV when asked about his views on a candidate for the prime ministers job.

The external affairs minister contends that Manmohan Singhs intellect and his standing as an economist also helped Ms Gandhi in deciding on whom to nominate as Prime Minister. He is a superior intellectual person, a highly-rated economist. I am not a political activist. I dont have that type of expertise. Secondly, he enjoyed the confidence of Sonia Gandhi and thats why when the office was offered to Sonia Gandhi, it was for her to decide who she would like to or whom she would find more compatible, Mukherjee said.