United Progressive Alliance (UPA)'s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday resigned as Finance Minister in order to contest the upcoming election.
Pranab, who bid farewell to active politics after several decades, has said that he is honoured and humbled at his nomination. Addressing media on his last day in the North Block office, the veteran Congressman said that he would miss his Finance Ministry colleagues, adding, "Today I embark on a new journey."
"Friends in the media, I know you have many questions to ask me. But today, on my very last day in the ministry, it is not the time to open any new dialogue," he said while addressing the media for the last time as the Union Finance Minister.
"I know that not every decision which I have taken might have been right. But I have taken those decisions by keeping in view the interests of people whose faces appeared before me more than often," he said.
He thanked the UPA leadership as well as other parties, including Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, JDU, CPM and Forward Bloc, for extending support to his candidature.
The man expected to become the next President, received praise from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who took charge of the finance portfolio. After accepting Mukherjee’s resignation from his cabinet, Singh said in a letter to him: “I have benefited from your wise counsel on innumerable occasions and we will all deeply miss your presence amidst us.”
Meanwhile, the PM has forwarded Pranab Mukherjee's resignation to President Pratibha Patil who will demit office on July 24. While forwarding his resignation, PM Singh told Pranab, "Our government owes a deep debt of gratitude to you for your contribution."
Mukherjee will file his nomination for the upcoming Presidential poll on June 28. Mukherjee will contest the Presidential poll against former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma, who is backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal.
The Presidential election of India is scheduled for July 19.