The chief minister posted a copy of Mukherjee’s letter on her Facebook page stating that she received it today.
“The President stands above party politics. Given an opportunity, it shall be my endeavour to protect the values of this office: integrity, impartiality and the promotion of ‘Sarva dharma sambhav’ which constitute the essence and spirit of our Constitution,” Mukherjee wrote in the letter.
“If my election has any meaning, it is only as part of our common service to our motherland. It is in this spirit that I seek your valuable support in this election,” he said, adding, he is honoured that UPA allies and other parties have considered him worthy for the post.
[Read the letter here ]
Recalling that he began his public life in his ancestral village in West Bengal, he said he was schooled in politics by the pro-poor commitment of Indira Gandhi.
“And it remains my dream to eliminate the last vestiges of that terrifying affliction called poverty within our lifetimes,” Mukherjee said.
The Trinamool Congress chief has already said that she would make known her decision on whom to support three days before the presidential polls on 19 July.
When asked by reporters in Srinagar earlier in the day, if he would appeal to Banerjee, an ally of UPA at the Centre, to vote for him, Mukherjee said, “I appeal to her almost every day…that is for her to decide.”
Later, Mukherjee, who met Congress legislators from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in Chandigarh, said he was confident that the Trinamool Congress chief would consider supporting his candidature.
“She (Mamata) has already expressed that she will take a decision before the date of poll,” Mukherjee told reporters here.
He was asked if he was confident of getting support from the West Bengal Chief Minister.
Prominent among those with whom Mukerjee interacted were Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh, Leader of Opposition in Punjab, Sunil Kumar Jakhar, Haryana Congress President Phool Chand Mullana and Punjab Congress’ party affairs state in-charge, Thakur Gulchain Singh Charak.
The former Union Finance Minister, who reached here from Srinagar, said his meetings were part of thanksgiving exercise for those political parties which have extended support to his Presidential race.
Replying to a question, he said at the moment he is suffering from “identity crisis”.
“Unfortunately, I am suffering from identity crisis after my nomination,” Mukherjee said, adding over the years he had an identity as a Congressman and had the privilege to work with Congress governments at the Centre as a Minister.
“I have resigned as Finance Minister and can’t speak on any government policy and programme,” he said.
He refused to comment on US President Barack Obama’s statement that India has prohibited foreign investment in too many sectors such as retail. “I am not competent to speak on this. Had this question
arisen three weeks back, I would have given appropriate reply,” he said.
On the view that the President’s post in India was a “rubber stamp”, he said that he takes the assertion with humility.
“I am not a constitutional lawyer though I have studied the Constitution…. In reality, executive power lies with the Council of Ministers. In the states it is the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers and at the Centre, it is the Prime Minister and his Council,” he said.
Mukherjee said that the President has the right to inform and to advice the Government, to address Parliament and exercise constitutional rights. “It may appear formalities but President is custodian of Parliament,” he added.
The country has seen thirteen presidents, he said, adding they have established rich legacy. He said that any person occupying this high post must follow in their footsteps.
“I am sure if any President follows his predecessors he will not face difficulty. I am fully aware of responsibility of this high office. I have seen many Presidents facing difficulties at certain times while occupying this post, but they found the solution within the framework of the Constitution,” he noted.
Mukherjee also thanked the media for its support and cooperation to him all through.
He was candid to admit that he had learnt many things from the media and added that he had seen different perspectives of political parties and the politicians.
Mukherjee also thanked the parties which have extended support to him, including those which are outside the UPA like CPM, Forward Bloc, JD(U), Shiv Sena and Bodo People’s Sikkim Front.