Writes to Sonia Gandhi congratulating her on her choice
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Friday welcomed the nomination of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as the Presidential candidate by the Congress and said his election was a foregone conclusion.
Talking to reporters, he said he was apprised of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's decision to nominate Mr. Mukherjee on April 29 when Defence Minister A.K. Antony met him in Chennai.
Mr. Karunanidhi sent a letter to Ms. Gandhi congratulating her on her choice and another to Mr. Mukherjee wishing him success.
“Mr. Mukherjee is eminently suitable for the post of President of India. He has had a long and varied experience in the administration of the country. He has a brilliant and bright track-record. He will definitely be a priceless jewel in the crown of Indian democracy,” Mr. Karunanidhi said.
He said the allies of the UPA would enthusiastically welcome the announcement and ensure his victory.
Asked whether the DMK would organise a reception for Mr. Mukherjee as it did for the outgoing President Pratibha Patil when her name was announced for the post, Mr. Karunanidhi said he was not sure if Mr. Mukherjee would like such a reception. “Still, we will try,” he said, adding, depending on his convenience, Mr. Mukherjee could campaign in Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Karunanidhi said he was really at a loss to understand why the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, expressed his willingness to enter the fray, since he was not keen on a second term when he asked him about it at the end of his term.
To a question on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's insistence on the candidature of Mr. Kalam, Mr. Karunanidhi quipped that in Tamil, the word ‘Kalam' also meant ‘kalagam' (that roughly translates as ‘causing confusion'). “The tendency to cause confusion has even entered the presidential election,” he said.
Asked whether the DMK would get a berth in the Union Cabinet as there were talks about a Cabinet reshuffle, he said his party had no such expectations.
He also rejected the suggestion that the DMK could get the Railway Ministry as the party had not filled the two berths allotted to it.
“We never keep this in mind while extending our support. The Prime Minister and UPA chairperson will take a decision on Cabinet expansion. We will not barter the DMK's principles for a position in the Cabinet,” he said.