Pranab Mukherjee as Congress political adviser? No, says daughter Sharmistha

NEW DELHI: Political corridors were rife with speculation if Pranab Mukherjee would become a political counsellor to Congress after leaving Rashtrapati Bhavan, but the family scotched the murmurs with a firm no.

The guessing game started after Congress member Mani Shankar Aiyar expressed hope that Mukherjee would start advising Congress to take the party from “nadir to near zenith”. Aiyar told TOI he was not sure if Mukherjee’s sense of propriety would allow him to take up an active political role, while arguing that his “intellectual asset and political experience” would help Congress in overcoming current political challenges.

However, Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha ruled out his return to active politics.

“Once he assumed the presidentship, he went beyond party politics,” she told TOI. Sharmistha said “her father was like a treasure, with tremendous political and administrative experience”. But she added, “If any leader from any political party wants to avail his experience, I am sure he will help. But that is available to all across party lines.” Sharmistha, a spokesperson for Delhi Congress, said her father had always helped members of other parties with his advice. “I have heard it from members in so many parties. That is why he is respected across the political divide,” she said.

Pranab Mukherjee retired as India’s 13th President on Tuesday.