New Delhi: Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury created flutters on Thursday when she talked of how valuable Pranab Mukherjee is to the government but the party stepped in immediately to clear the air saying the Finance Minister is not ruled out from the Presidential race.
The clarification by Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi came at the party briefing on Thursday when reporters plied him with questions about Chowdhury's statement earlier in the day that Mukherjee is "very valued" leader for the party and the government, remarks which were interpreted as her ruling Mukherjee out from the race.
"The consultation process is on. No names have been finalised. Renuka Chowhury's remarks show the importance of Pranabda. It does not mean he is ruled out for anything. It shows his importance for the party, Parliament and the country," Alvi said.
He said Chowdhury is also a spokesperson and if she had said something, she must have said it with some responsibility.
"At this point of time, it is not possible to give the names (of party's preferences for Presidential election)," he said.
To a question about the "confusion" caused by Chowdhury's statements, Alvi said there is no confusion due to it. Nobody can negate Pranab's importance, he said.
Asked whether Pranab's efficiency is a factor going against him, he said, "it is not going against him. It shows his importance."
Earlier, Chowdhury's remarks on Mukherjee's utility for party and government prompted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to say Congress has announced that the Finance Minister is not its candidate for the President's election.