‘Pranab was a superpower in govt’

Having declared his party’s support for Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential poll, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray today described him as ‘superpower’ in government and said the Opposition should be happy that with his election the government will become a ‘lame duck’.

‘Mukherjee is a superpower in the Manmohan Singh government and because of his going in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the government is going to become a lame duck. That is why opposition parties should be the most happy ones to see that he is going to Rashtrapati Bhawan,’ Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna.

Thackeray, whose party chose to break ranks with NDA ally BJP to back UPA nominee Mukherjee, praised the Congress veteran, saying he has the ‘ability to take the right decisions’.

‘Keeping in mind the present unstable scenario [in the country] and the chaos, anarchy in future, we decided to support Pranab as we are confident that only he can overcome the situation and has the ability to take the right decisions,’ Thackeray said. In an apparent reference to former President A P J Abdul Kalam, who spurned Trinamool Congress’ offer to be its presidential nominee for lack of consensus, Thackeray said Mukherjee may not be a ‘missile man’ but is no less than a ‘nuclear bomb’.

‘Pranab may not be a missile man but his vast experience is no less than any nuclear bomb. Anyway, despite our having the nuclear bomb, Afzal Guru did attack Parliament.

Now, Pranab babu should be given the opportunity to tighten the hangman’s noose around Afzal’s neck,’ he said.

Thackeray said Mukherjee was denied the post of Prime Minister or President all these years because he was not ‘subservient’. The Shiv Sena patriarch said none of the two candidates in the race - Mukherjee and BJP-backed P A Sangma - could win the election without ‘borrowed support’.

‘Neither Mukherjee nor P A Sangma has the ability to get elected on his own or on their party strength alone. That is why, the poll is being contested on borrowed support,’ he said.

‘When Pranab went to file nominations, he was accompanied by Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Ramvilas Paswan, T R Balu. But the maths isn’t that just because these people are with him, he will win and go to Rashtrapati Bhawan. His victory is certain only because of the openhearted support given by Shiv Sena and JD(U),’ Thackeray said.

He said Sena and JD(U) had decided to support Mukherjee as he was a veteran and an administrator with a balanced outlook whose presence in the Rashtrapati Bhavan will ‘only benefit the country’.
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