NEW DELHI: Pranab Mukherjee was understandably upset when I was made Prime Minister, former premier Manmohan Singh said on Friday. "Sonia Gandhi chose me to become PM," Singh said, pointing out that Mukherjee was senior to him in their party.
"Pranab knew I had no choice and any part in this decision," Singh said.
He was speaking at the launch of President Mukherjee's new book, 'The Coalition Years: 1996-2012,' in Delhi.
In 2004, Sonia Gandhi, Congress chief, unexpectedly named Dr Singh as the new premier after the UPA or Congress-led coalition dislodged the BJP.
"He is a politician by choice and it comes naturally to him... I became a politician by accident," said Singh, 85, praising Mukherjee who became President of the country in 2012.
But the former PM underlined how his elevation did not impact the relations between them.
They had worked together in various capacities since 1970. As finance minister back in the seventies, Mr Mukherjee was Dr Singh's boss too and later appointed him central bank governor too.
"He had a reason to feel upset but he respected me and we have a great relationship which will continue till we live," Dr Singh said.
As the PM who led the UPA's coalition government for a decade, Dr Singh recalled how he devised the concept of group of ministers and "invariably put him on the job".