Pranab was most qualified to be PM: Manmohan Singh

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He said that Pranab Mukherjee was senior to him in the Congress party, but Sonia Gandhi chose him to lead the government. "He had every reason to be disappointed when I was chosen but he knew I had no choice in the matter", he said.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee said that he has always believed that improvement of quality in higher education particularly emphasis on research and innovation is absolutely necessary if number one ranking is to be achieved.

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At the launch of the former President's memoirs, The Coalition Years, which brought together key Opposition leaders on the same stage, Dr. Singh described Mr. Mukherjee as one of the greatest living Congressmen and parliamentarians, and recalled their association in the Finance Ministry since the early 1970s. When Mr. Yechury described Pranab Da, as he fondly called the former President, as a "man with an elephant's memory", Congress president Sonia Gandhi sitting in the front row of the audience corrected it to "two elephants' memory". He retired in July this year. His autobiography is titled Coalition Years 1996 to 2012 and released today at the Nehru Memorial Museum Library, Delhi.

Praising the book, Akhilesh Yadav said that it is like laying your hands on good notes before the examinations.

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"Therefore that smoothened our relationship. That is a great trust", Mr Mukherjee had said during a media interview.

The former prime minister described Mukherjee as the "most distinguished living parliamentarian and Congressman", whom everyone in the party looked up to for discussing and resolving ticklish and hard issues. Mukherjee was an active participant in the contemporary developments that reshaped the course of the country's political, economic and social destiny. "I became a politician by accident when P V Narasimha Rao asked me to become the finance minister", he said.

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