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Pranab thanks Sonia for Prez candidature

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee thanked Congress President Sonia Gandhi for nominating him as the UPA candidate for the Presidential election and said he has accepted the offer with humility.

"I am deeply hounoured on my nomination as the candidate for the election to the office of President of India by my party and UPA-2. I am grateful to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for this recognition. I accept this offer with all humility," he told reporters at his office here.

Mukherjee said, "In my long political career spanning over five decades, I have been fortunate to receive love, affection and confidence of my party colleagues and also the members and leaders of all political parties. I am deeply indebted to them. I will now again seek their indulgence and support for the next few weeks. We have requested all political parties to lend their support."

On who will replace him as the Finance Minister, Mukherjee said, "It is up to the Prime Minister to decide who will be the next Finance Minister…the Congress President and the Prime Minister will decide. I do not think I am depository of all knowledge and expertise. In our government and in our party there are a number of people who can handle difficult economic situation. The Prime Minister himself is an eminent economist and under his stewardship we will overcome this temporary crisis."

Earlier in the day, Gandhi announced Mukherjee as the UPA candidate for the Presidential election at a meeting of the coalition partners. Mamata Banerjee of Trinamool Congress, however, skipped the meeting.

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