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Pranab Mukherjee’s walkover

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 16:09
Biplob Ghosal
Loud and Clear

Wishes do come true and if someone of Pranab Mukherjee’s stature is making one, it is sure to be fulfilled. Few days ago the Congress’ trouble shooter had expressed his love for the Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns and said, "I love to walk in the morning... I take 40 rounds of my lawns... the Rashtrapati Bhavan has large lawns... one would not need 40 rounds.”

Pranab da’s wish has come true and with almost all the political parties supporting him he is sure to don the new hat. The magical figure is already tilting on his side. His biggest hurdle on his way to Raisina Hilla - Mamata Banerjee - has been shrugged off by the Congress. And with Mamata adamant on backing APJ Abdul Kalam, the Left party, an anathema to the Trinamool Congress, is expected to back Bengal’s ‘Bhadralok’. In most likelihood, the key opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party, would give its nod to the Congress maverick to head towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan. A clever move by BJP considering the party veteran LK Advani once said that the UPA-II would not be able to survive for a day without Pranab Mukherjee.

Though he is considered the Chanakya within the political circle, Pranab Mukherjee is lovingly called ‘Poltu’ by his family. He is known to be a very humble person who has deep love for books and ‘Rabindra sangeet’. The man whose life revolves around work makes sure to take a break at the time of Dusshera when he heads to his ancestral home in Miriti village in Birbhum district to perform ‘Durga Puja’.

He has always been the quintessential number two in the Congress-led government, but surely was the first choice of party president Sonia Gandhi in troubled times.

As Pranab Mukherjee is ready to head towards Raisina Hills, his departure is sure to create a vacuum in the Congress party. As the Union Finance Minister he is presently heading 33 GoMs, which clearly shows how much importance he holds in the polity of the country. The grand old party will find it hard or next to impossible to replace him and would undoubtedly be feeling the pinch or shall I say the ‘punch’.

Son of a senior Congress leader Kinkar Mukherjee from West Bengal, Pranab had a brief stint as a lawyer, a teacher and a journalist before he was embedded into his destiny of politics.

Mukherjee, who was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1969 started his political career in the 60s, has held portfolios several important portfolios like Minister of State for Revenue, Minister of State for Industrial Development, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission as Minister of External Affairs and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Cell of AICC.

The chronicler of Congress history was also the Leader of Rajya Sabha from 1980-85. However his stint with Lok Sabha came only recently in 2004 and is now currently the Leader of the Lok Sabha.

77-year old Mukherjee has devoted almost 50 years to Indian politics and the Congress. He has been the only saviour of the party during crisis. Many would why he wasn’t chosen for the prime minister’s job even once in his five long decade career and that too when he had in the past hinted of harbouring prime ministerial ambitions? Many political analysts think it was the Gandhi family’s guardedness which caused the top job to elude him.

But today, Sonia Gandhi has nominated him for the President’s post. Some people may say it’s a retirement gift to him from the Congress party, but I think he is the most suitable candidate who knows the Constitution like the back of his hand.

As they say, let the best man win.

First Published: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 16:09

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