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'I'm the most proud daughter in India today'

July 22, 2012 19:21 IST

An elated family of Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said his stature, ability to build consensus, personal rapport with political leaders and vast experience will help him give a new dimension to the office of President of India.

"I think he has done justice to whatever offices that he held. He has fulfilled his duties and responsibilities to the best of his ability in whatever he has done. So, I'm sure that he will give a new dimension to the office of the President," his daughter, Sharmistha said.

"I think over all these years, he has developed some excellent personal rapport with people cutting across party lines. Whatever the opposition might say, personally they held him in high esteem. I think that definitely helps. His stature, his ability to create consensus, all these things will definitely help," she told television channels.

A beaming Sharmistha said, "I am the most proud daughter in India today, thank you Baba."

Pranab's son Abhijit, a Congress MLA in West Bengal, said, "My father was confident of his victory from the beginning and he will be able to do justice to his role as President."

To a question, Abhijit said his father has no regrets about not having become the prime minister. Pranab enjoyed the confidence of Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, he said.

As near and dear ones began celebrating and expressing their joy, elder sister Annapurna Banerjee said that her prayers had been rewarded.

"Several years ago when my brother was an MP, we were sipping tea sitting on the verandah of his bungalow in Delhi which had a view of the President's stable on the Raisina Hills.

"Looking at the horses, he said 'what fun these horses have as they don't have to do anything and get all the care. Wish I am reborn as one of these'," reminiscenced octogenarian Annapurna sitting in her home in Kirnahar in West Bengal.

"I told him why a horse in the President's stable, you will become the President of the country one day. This has come true today," Annapurna said with pride in her voice for her brother, who from a boy in an unknown village in Bengal became the President-elect.

Sharmistha recounted Pranab quoting Rabindranath Tagore in a recent interview to summarise the feeling in the family over his transition from being an active politician to holding the top post as President.

"So it is basically now after many years that I have finally got my holiday, my leave. So before I go, I bow to everybody," she had heard Pranab reciting.

On Mamata Banerjee's attitude to Pranab's candidature, Sharmistha said that while "she (Banerjee) was the leader of a political party that was ruling Bengal, but other than that, there is a Bengal and there was overwhelming support from that."

On allegations against Pranab in the run up to the election, she said, "My father has been in politics for over four decades. You can't expect it to be a bed of roses. I don't think he was affected by any of that (allegations)."


CONGRATULATE Pranab Mukherjee!

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