Who is Pranab Mukherjee? Biography, Age, Books, Political Life

Pranab Mukherjee
Dr. Pranab Mukherjee

Biography of Pranab Mukherjee

Pranab Kumar Mukherjee is an Indian politician. He served as 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017.

He has been a senior leader in the Indian National Congress & has occupied several ministerial portfolios in Govt. of India.

He was union Finance Minister during 2009 to 2012. He was awarded India’s largest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 2019 by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.

He got his first break in politics in 1969, when the then PM Indira Gandhi helped him to elect to Rajya Sabha on a congress ticket. After that, he became Gandhi’s most trusted minister in her cabinet in 1973.

He was side-lined from the congress during the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi. He lost out in the ensuring power struggle.

He formed his own party, the Rastriya Samajwadi Congress. It merged with the congress in 1989.

After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination I 1991, his political career revived when P. V. Narsimha Rao appointed him as planning commission head and then as foreign minister in 1995.

He was the principal & architect of Sonia Gandhi’s ascension to the party’s presidency in 1998.

When UPA came in to power in 2004, he won a Lok Sabha seat for the first time. From then to 2012 he was the practically number-two in PM Manmohan Singh’s govt.

He held no of key cabinet portfolios like defence in 2004-06, external affairs in 2006-09 and finance 2009-12.

After securing UPA’s nomination for President in July 2012, he defeated P. A. Sangma by winning 70%.

In 2017, he decided to retire from politics after leaving the presidency due to health complications due to age.In June 2018, he became first former President of India to address RSS event.

Early Life and Political Career of Pranab Mukherjee:

Pranab was born on 11th December 1935 in Bengali family in Mirati, a village of Bengal.

His father, Kamada Kinkar Mukarjee was the member of AICC and West Bengal Legislative Council between 1952 and 1964 as a representative of the Indian National Congress, and he was also active in Indian independence movement.

His mother was Rajlakshmi Mukherjee. He completed his M. A. in political science & history and L. L. B. from Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated to University of Calcutta.

Earlier he was an Upper-division clerk in the office of Deputy Accountant- General in Calcutta.

He became assistant lecturer of political science at Vidyanagar College in 1963.

Personal life:

He married Suvra Mukerjee on 13th July 1957. She was born and raised in Narali, Bangladesh.

She died on 18th August 2015 at the age of 74. They had two sons and a daughter. She died due to heart failure while mukerjee was in office.

Early political career:

His political career began in 1969. He became the member of Rajya Sabha in July 1969.

He was re-elected in house in 1975, 1981, 1993 & 1999. He became a Gandhi loyalist and described as “man of all seasons”.

He was active in Indira cabinet during 1975-77. He emerged unscathed and rose through a series of cabinet posts to become Finance Minister from 1982 to 1984.

As a Finance Minister, he signed the letter appointing Manmohan Singh as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

In 1979, he became Deputy Leader of the INC in the Rajya Sabha, and in 1980, he was appointed Leader of the House.

He served as External Affairs Minister for the first time from 1995 to 1996 in Rao’s cabinet. He held many important posts in the Manmohan Singh government.

Political party role:

Pranab Mukherjee is “very well respected within the political party social circles.” Media accounts describe him as having “a reputation as a number-crunching politician with a phenomenal memory and an unerring survival instinct.”

He became a member of the Congress Working Committee on 27 January 1978.He briefly held the position of treasurer of the AICC and the Congress party in 1978.

After Sonia Gandhi agreed to join politics, he was one of her mentors, guiding her through difficult situations with examples of how her mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi would have done things.

Pranab Mukherjee’s role in “skilfully pushing through the historic 123 Agreement and treaty with the Nuclear Suppliers Group” may have saved UPA-II government from the 2008 motion of no confidence wrote India Today.

He played a crucial role in steering the Cabinet pre-Lok Sabha elections when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underwent a by-pass surgery in 2008–09.

In 2011, Pranab Mukherjee was the recipient of “The Best Administrator in India” award. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh commented: “Dr. Pranab Mukherjee’s knowledge of parliamentary matters was stupendous.

The wide respect he commanded and his long association with the political leaders across the spectrum had proved invaluable in conducting the parliamentary business.”

Government offices:

Minister of Defence:

Manmohan Singh appointed him as the minister of defence of India when congress came in power in 2004.

He held it until 2006. In June 2005, he inked the ten-year Indo-US Defence Framework deal. He inaugurate the 5th session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) in Moscow in 2005.

Minister of External Affairs:

He was appointed the External Affairs Minister of India in 1995. His second term began in 2006.

He played a crucial role in mobilising world opinion against Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

He left the position a year later to take over the charge of Finance Ministry of India.

Commerce Minister:

Mukherjee has served as commerce minister of India thrice. His first stints were during Indira Gandhi govt. from 1980 to 82 & again in 1984.

Third stint was in 1990. Once a left wing magazine commented, “socialism did not grow out of the pipe Mukherjee smoked.”

In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi removed Mukherjee from his position as Finance Minister. He wanted to bring in his own team of staff to govern India.

He was removed from his position even though he was rated as the best Finance Minister in the World that year according to a survey of Euromoney magazine.

During Narsimha Rao’s premiership, again he was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Dr. Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister oversaw many economic reforms to end the Licence Raj system and help open the Indian economy during Mukherjee’s tenure.

Again Mukherjee became the Finance Minister of India in 2009. As a finance minister, he presented the annual budgets in 2009, 2010 & 2011.

In 2010 Emerging Markets, the daily newspaper of record for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) awarded “Finance Minister of the Year for Asia” Mukherjee.

Other positions:

He was chairperson of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata. . He is the former chairperson and president of the Rabindra Bharati University and the Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sammelan.

As a former trustee of the Bidhan Memorial Trust and the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad, Pranab Mukherjee has served on the Planning Board of the Asiatic Society.

President of India:

On 15th June 2012, Pranab Mukherjee was nominated as the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Alliance.In that election he received, 713,763 votes and his rival Sangma had 315,987 votes.

He was sworn-in by the Chief Justice of India on 25th July 2012. He was the first Bengali to hold the post of President in India.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh both congratulated Mukherjee on his election as President.NDA broke up and wanted to vote for the president to be Pranab Mukherjee.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was reportedly “shocked” and “upset” at the cross-voting for Pranab Mukherjee by its legislative members.

Pranab Mukherjee promulgated Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 on 3rd February 2013.

On July 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected 24 mercy pleas including that of Yakub Memon, Ajmal Kasab, Afzal Guru.

In January 2017, Mukherjee declared that, he would not contest for 2017 Presidential elections.

The reason was, advanced age and failing health. He celebrates the Durga Puja at his ancestral home in Mirati village. Every year he visited his village for this occasion.  

Pranab MukherjeeFormer President of India
Born:11 December 1935
Parents:Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, Rajlakshmi
Spouse:Suvra Mukherjee
Children:Abhijit Mukherjee, Sharmistha Mukherjee
Previous offices:President of India
Awards:Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan

COVID-19 Diagnosis:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, on 10 August 2020, he announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his surgery to remove a brain clot.

He was admitted at the Army’s Research & Referral hospital in Delhi. He is on ventilator support & in critical condition.