In pics: Pranab Mukherjee, a towering statesman, who left an imprint on India's politics
Pranab Mukherjee who was India's 13th President died aged 84 on Monday (August 31, 2020) in Delhi.
Mukherjee was admitted to the Army Research & Referral Hospital in New Delhi in a critical condition on August 10 and medical check-ups revealed a large clot in his brain for which he underwent an emergency life-saving surgery.
Post-surgery, the former President remained critical and on ventilator support.
Mukherjee's career in politics spanned over five decades and in 2017, he decided not to run for re-election and to retire from politics after leaving the presidency due to health complications. His tenure expired on July 25, 2017.
Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
For his distinguished service to the nation, he was first awarded India's second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
In 2019, he was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna by President Ram Nath Kovind. (Photo: Reuters)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former President Pranab Mukherjee (1)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the demise of Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee, said that he has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of the nation. PM Modi took to his Twitter and wrote, "A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society. During his political career that spanned decades, Shri Pranab Mukherjee made long-lasting contributions in key economic and strategic ministries. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, always well-prepared, extremely articulate as well as witty." (Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former President Pranab Mukherjee (2)
PM Modi on former President Mukherjee's demise said, "As India’s President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee made Rashtrapati Bhavan even more accessible to common citizens. He made the President’s house a centre of learning, innovation, culture, science and literature. His wise counsel on key policy matters will never be forgotten by me." He added, "I was new to Delhi in 2014. From Day 1, I was blessed to have the guidance, support and blessings of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I will always cherish my interactions with him. Condolences to his family, friends, admirers and supporters across India. Om Shanti." (Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi)
Pranab Mukherjee was born on December 11, 1935, in a Bengali family in Mirati, a village in Birbhum district in West Bengal and completed his Master's Degree in Political Science and History and LLB degree from University of Calcutta.
He held various key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by former PMs like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh.
In the seventies and eighties, Mukherjee 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).
He is also the author of a modified formula for resource sharing between the Centre and the States in 1991 which came to be known as the Gadgil-Mukherjee formula.
He was conferred ‘Padma Vibhusan’, India’s second-highest civilian award in 2008.
He was given the Best Parliamentarian Award in 1997 and Best Administrator in India Award in 2011. Mukherjee was rated one of the best five finance ministers in 1984 according to a survey conducted by “Euro Money” Journal.
A prolific reader, Mukherjee also authored several books.
He even made several revelations in his autobiography ‘The Coalition Years: 1996-2012’. He said that he had a “vague impression” that Congress may project Manmohan Singh as its presidential candidate, leaving him to be the party’s prime ministerial nominee for the 2014 general election.
Excerpt: I thought that if she (Sonia Gandhi) selected (Manmohan) Singh for the presidential office, she may choose me as the prime minister. I had heard a rumour that she had given this formulation a serious thought while on a holiday in the Kaushambi Hills.
The fact was that I was reluctant to join the government (led by Manmohan Singh) and informed Sonia Gandhi accordingly. She, however, insisted that I should join the government since I would be vital to its functioning...