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Pranab Mukherjee: Quint Essential Congressman

Pranab Mukherjee
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Pranab Mukherjee

Highlights

Pranab Mukherjee, fondly known as 'Pranab Da', became the 13th President of India and was in office from July 25, 2012 to 2017 and won the admiration of all. He was respected and his words were heard with attention not only by those in power politics but by the common man as well.

Pranab Mukherjee, fondly known as 'Pranab Da', became the 13th President of India and was in office from July 25, 2012 to 2017 and won the admiration of all. He was respected and his words were heard with attention not only by those in power politics but by the common man as well. Mukherjee worked with two prime ministers — Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi — and shared an excellent equation with both of them.

A quintessential Congressman who served for 23 years as a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party. His decision to visit the RSS headquarters at Nagpur despite appeal by several Congress leaders not to do so created a stir. His speech was widely watched. Contrary to what the Congress leaders feared, Pranab da emphasised on India's pluralism.

As president, Mukherjee laid a lot of stress on innovation and on boosting country's rankings in higher education as none of Indian universities is in the top 100 rankings. He sought to start an eco-system that fostered creativity of young minds and valued innovations at the grassroots. The five time Rajya Sabha member from 1969 and two term Lok Sabha member, Pranab's style of explaining things was like that of a teacher which was his original profession. His speeches were heard with rapt attention in Parliament by all leaders. He was known for his sharp memory and grasp over issues. The leader from Bengal had earned a rare distinction of serving the country as Defence Minister, Commerce and Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister. He was also the Deputy Chairman

Known for his sharp memory, clarity of thought and grasp over issues, he has the rare distinction of serving as Foreign, Defence, Commerce and Finance Minister and was seen by many as a potential prime minister. He was also a Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

As a minister in UPA governments from 2004 to 2012, Mukherjee was instrumental in spearheading critical decisions on a range of issues such as administrative reforms, Right to Information, Right to Employment, Food Security, energy security, Information Technology and telecommunication, setting up of UIDAI and Metro Rail through chairmanship of over 95 Groups of Ministers constituted for the purpose.

In seventies and eighties, he was instrumental in setting up regional rural banks (1975) and the EXIM Bank of India as well as National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (1981-82).

A prolific reader, Mukherjee has authored several books. He was conferred with the highest civilian title Bharat Ratna in 2019.

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