Former President Pranab Mukherjee turns 82 today. He is perhaps one of the most underrated politician of India. One who has saved Congress party at number of times and one of those politician who despite having a political career which spanned for over 6 decades was free from any sort of controversy.
His political career started in 1969 when he was elected to upper house of the parliament on a Congress ticket. He became a minister in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet by 1973. After being a part of many different portfolios he was finally made the Finance Minister in 1982. Assassination of Indira Gandhi put a halt to his rising stature as he found himself sidelined.
Pranab Mukherjee considered himself as a rightful heir to Indira Gandhi only to find Indira’s son Rajiv Gandhi gaining control of the Congress. He was removed from his position in the cabinet. Mukherjee slided himself away from those inclined towards Rajiv Gandhi which eventually led to his expulsion from Congress.
Pranab Mukherjee formed his own party RSC (Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress) in 1986 but it fared badly in 1987 assembly polls in Bangladesh. He merged RSC with Congress three years later after reaching a compromise with Rajiv Gandhi.
After assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, There was a revival in his political career as he was appointed the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and as a union cabinet minister. Mukherjee became a Gandhi family loyalist after that and played a clinical role in revival of congress party in 2004.
He became leader of House in Lok Sabha in 2004. Though Pranab’s name was discussed for presidency post in 2007 it was dropped because of his major role in the cabinet. He held various important cabinets during UPA government including Defence, Finance, and External Affairs.
Reward for all that he did finally came when he was elected as President of India in 2012. His tenure as the president of country was also a good one. He declared that he will not reappear for the post of president due to health issues.