Pranab Mukherjee, A Congress Loyalist And Indira Gandhi's Trusted Lieutenant
Pranab Mukherjee, a staunch Congressman, was India's 13th president between 2012 and 2017. As a senior congress leader, Pranab held several ministerial posts. He was also honoured with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award by the current President Ram Nath Kovind last year (2019)
Pranab Mukherjee, a staunch Congressman, was India's 13th president between 2012 and 2017. As a senior congress leader, Pranab held several ministerial posts. He was also honoured with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award by the current President Ram Nath Kovind last year (2019).
Pranab Da Biography
Hailing from Birbhum district in West Bengal (then Mirati, Bengal Presidency in British India), Pranab was born on December 11, 1935 to Rajlakshmi and Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee. His father, a member of West Bengal Legislative council in INC, had also taken active part in India's freedom movement. Interestingly, Pranab's entire family has stayed loyal to Congress. His son Abhijit Mukherjee and daughter Sharmishta too are Congress members.
A Masters degree holder in history and political science from the University of Calcutta, Pranab also holds an LLB.
Pranab Mukherjee Career
Pranab Mukherjee may be synonymous with politics in the recent years, but he has had an illustrious career and held several jobs before he went on to become a fulltime politician.Mukherjee started off as a clerk (Upper Division) in the Deputy Account General's office in Calcutta. Later he served as an Assistant professor (Political Science), at the Vidyanagar college in Kolkata in 1963. That's not it, Pranab also worked as a journalist with Desher Dak for some time.
Pranab's political debut
Pranab Mukherjee's political entry began in 1969. As an independent candidate, Pranab managed VK Krishna Menon's poll campaign. Then it was Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who extended an invite to Pranab to join the party after realising his talent which the debutante readily accepted. Mrs Gandhi helped Pranab get Rajya Sabha membership.Later, there was no looking back as Pranab went on to get re-elected on his own for four more times.
He was then offered a Cabinet berth under Indira Gandhi, after which he soon won her trust. He was with Indira when she declared an Emergency in the country. He went on to become the Finance Minister between 1982 and 1984 during which time he made Manmohan Singh the RBI governor.
Pranab was made Deputy leader of INC in Rajya Sabha in 1979. Indira Gandhi's most trusted lieutenants Pranab would also preside over Cabinet meetings in the PM's absence after he was appointed leader of the house in 1980.
Unfortunately the loyal Congressman suffered a major blow and was snubbed by Rajiv Gandhi following the PM's death. He was also removed from mainstream politics and reduced to manage the regional PCC in West Bengal. This prompted Pranab to float his own politician outfit named Rashtriya Samajwadi Party (RSC) in Bengal. However, he eventually buried the hatched with Rajiv Gandhi and merged his party with the Congress.
However, after Rajiv's assassination in 1991, he became Indian Planning Commission's deputy chairman, courtesy the then PM PV Narasimha Rao, who later also gave him a cabinet berth. Pranab served as the external affairs minister in PVN's Cabinet.
Just like Indira, Sonia too realised Pranab's potential and made him the AICC General Secretary after she became the party president. The buzz in political circles is that Sonia's political entry tasted success, thanks to Pranab. He was later made West Bengal Congress president from 2000 to 2010. When Pranab became a Lok Sabha member, rumours mills were abuzz with talks about Pranab's possible elevation to the top executive post (PM). However, this was before Manmohan Singh was chosen as the prime minister.
Pranab Mukherjee's political career too is as diverse as his work experience in other fields. From defence and finance to external affairs, the Congress leader held a variety of portfolios under Manmohan Singh. He also led the CLP and CPP.
It was in 2012 when he ran for President that Pranab gave up his Congress membership. After his term ended, Pranab chose to end his political career instead of running for president again due to health issues.