The then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, he returned with a “vague impression that she might wish” to consider Manmohan Singh as the UPA’s presidential nominee
Former President Pranab Mukherjee, on the launch of the third volume of his autobiography, The Coalition Years, 1996-2012, made many revelations. The most prominent among them being the statement about his expectations on being chosen as the Prime Minister. The then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, he returned with a “vague impression that she might wish” to consider Manmohan Singh as UPA’s presidential nominee. As per a report by The Indian Express, he said, “I thought that if she (Sonia Gandhi) selected Singh (Manmohan Singh) for the presidential office, she may choose me as the prime minister. I had heard a rumour that she had given this formulation serious thought while on a holiday in the Kaushambi Hills.”
Not only did Mukherjee had an impression that Sonia is going to choose him for PM but he also added that in 2004, he had cleared that he doesn’t want to handle the finance portfolio as his view on economic policies is different from that of Manmohan Singh. Mukherjee writes, “The fact was that I was reluctant to join the government and informed Sonia Gandhi accordingly. She, however, insisted that I should join the government since I would be vital to its functioning….When the government was being formed, he was “absolutely clear” that he didn’t want the finance portfolio “since Manmohan Singh and I held different views on economic issues”.
He also recalled a time when he had lost his temper on agitating opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha despite his assurance to then Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj that he would answer her questions. As the matter got sorted out, Gandhi had commented: “This is why you can’t be President,” Mukherjee recalls in the book. He also recalled about how he as the then External Affairs Minister sent visiting Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi home in his own official aircraft in the aftermath of 26/11.