A day after opting out of the presidential race, former president APJ Abdul Kalam yesterday lavished praise on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, extolling her leadership qualities and “honesty” for the cause of the nation.
In a letter to Banerjee, Kalam thanked the Trinamool Congress supremo for proposing his name for the presidential election 2012 and all her “ceaseless efforts”.
“During this short interaction, I saw, in you, a great leadership quality of graceful politics. Your firmness for a cause, honesty for the cause of the nation, particularly your courage and determination to sacrifice a golden political throne, is indeed graceful politics,” Kalam wrote in the letter where he addressed Banerjee as “dear and respected”.
“This is indeed the need of the country. It is known that history is written only by courageous leaders,” he said. Kalam also apologised for causing disappointment to Banerjee (by backing out of the race).
Banerjee, in reply, said she was deeply obliged and overwhelmed with the sentiments expressed in his letter. “I am deeply touched, obliged and overwhelmed with the sentiments expressed in your letter dated June 19. We Indians are proud of you for your personality and achievements in the country and the world,” she wrote.
She stated that she gets courage from her struggle for the cause of common people. “I always maintain courage which stems from my struggle for the cause of the common people. Kindly give us your blessings as friend, philosopher and guide for this country,” she wrote.
Both the letters were uploaded on Banerjee’s official Facebook account. Kalam on Monday opted out of the presidential election after studying the “totality” of the situation, dealing a blow to the BJP and Banerjee who badly wanted him to take on Pranab Mukherjee.
His decision spiked what could have been a high-profile battle between him and Finance Minister Mukherjee, who appears set to occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the UPA nominee.