Pranab Mukherjee today bid farewell as Finance Minister saying he felt a “tinge of sentiment” about leaving behind four decades of political activism to compete in the presidential poll.
“Today I stand ready to embark on a new journey. I feel honoured and humbled by my nomination to contest as presidential candidate by UPA-II which is supported by SP, BSP, Shiv Sena, JD(U), CPI-M, Forward Block and some other parties for which elections are due to be held on 19 July.
“Yet standing on the brink of such an honour I also feel a tinge of sentiment at the thought of leaving behind my life as a political activist spanning over four decades. I will meet my colleagues in Ministry of Finance and I will also miss not being stopped by all of you who are assembled here while getting into my car or coming out of my car in north block,” a smiling Mukherjee told reporters.
However, refused to be drawn into answering any questions on his term as Finance Minister saying that his last day in the ministry was not the time “to open any new dialogue.”
“So let me just say how good it has been for me to have this dialogue with you over the years,” he said.
The veteran Congress leader also spoke about how being born in a village in West Bengal had helped shape his political career.
“I have travelled the distance in my life. But I always remind myself that I was born in a remote village in Bengal,” Mukherjee said, adding that thanks to this he had seen the life of poor farmers in rural India.
“I know that not every decision I have taken might have been right but I have taken those decisions keeping in mind the interests of those people whose faces appear before me more than often,” he said.
He also thanked the media for supporting him and criticising him during his political career.
“Friends of the media have reminded me of my responsibilities, most of the time through your criticisms and sometimes through your praises, of what I should do for the people,” Mukherjee said, adding that he hoped the media would continue to perform this duty throughout his career in public life.