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About Pranab Mukherjee

New Delhi, Sun, 22 Jul 2012 NI Wire

Pranab Mukherjee is a prominent leader of India who is well known in India and abroad for his problem solving techniques. Pranab became the 13th President of India in July 2012 in the incumbency of Manmohan Singh led United Progressive Alliance government in which he had already served on various portfolios.

Pranab before succeeding Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, the 12th President of India, was on the post of Finance Minister that became his last post as a politician.

Pranab was born at Mirati in the Bengal province of British India in a Bengali Hindu Kulin Brahmin family. His father, Kamada Kumar Mukherjee, was a member of the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. Pranab got his education in Kolkata and completed his Master degree in History and Political Science from University of Calcutta. He also hold Law degree from University of Calcutta. The University of Wolverhampton awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 2011.

After completing his education, Mukherjee began his career as an upper-division clerk in the office of the Deputy Accountant-General (Post and Telegraph) in Calcutta. Later he became a college-teacher and further a journalist. He worked for noted Bengali publication Desher Dak (Call of Motherland).

He entered in politics in 1969 when he managed to a successful election campaign for independent candidate Krishna Menon during the by-elections in Midnapore. Prime Minister and Congress supreme leader Indira Gandhi recognized his talents and made him a part of her party. Indira gave Mukherjee a seat in the Rajya Sabha (upper house) of the parliament from the Congress party in July 1969. Mukherjee was later re-elected in 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999.

During India Gandhi regime, he served on various posts including Union Deputy Minister of Industrial Development in 1973, the Finance Minister of India from 1982 to 1984. During his first term finance ministry, he asked to Indira Gandhi to appoint Manmohan Singh as the Governor of Reserve Bank of India. During Indira Gandhi period, he enhanced his power and become second most influential leader. He would preside several cabinet meetings in the absence of Indira Gandhi.

But, in Rajiv Gandhi regime, his power was declined and he was put in the sideline. Sulking Pranab made a separate party Rashtirya Samajwadi Party (National Socialist Congress) party in 1986 in West Bengal, but later merged into congress party after three years from separation.

Mukherjee's political carrier revived in the incumbency of P V Narasimha Rao who became the Prime Minister of India in 1991 when Congress returned after a short break of two years. At that time Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated through a bomb blast.

Narsimha Rao appointed him Deputy chairman of the Indian planning commission and subsequently Union External Affairs Minister.

Mukherjee later became loyalist to Gandhi family and principle architecture to bring Sonia Gandhi into the politics. He later become more influential leader and began to call as 'the crisis manager'.

During United Progressive Alliance government led by Congress party in which Manmohan Singh became Prime Minister of India for the first time, Pranab became the leader of House in Lok Sabha in 2004. He had contested the Lok Sabha elections for the first time and won from Jangipur in West Bengal. He was re-elected from Jangipur in 2009 as the Congress comfortably secured another victory in the national elections.

During the Prime Ministerialship of Manmohan Singh, Pranab served on various portfolios including Defence, Finance, and External Affairs. He also headed the Congress Parliamentary Party and the Congress Legislative Party, which consists of all the Congress MPs and MLAs in the country apart from being Leader of the House in Lok Sabha and Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President.

Here is the list of Mukherjee's positions in chronological order:

  • Union Minister of Industrial Development 1973-1974
  • Union Minister of Shipping and Transport 1974
  • Minister of State for Finance 1974-1975
  • Union Minister of Revenue and Banking 1975-1977
  • Treasurer of the Congress Party 1978-79
  • Treasurer of the All India Congress Committee 1978-79
  • Leader of the House of the Rajya Sabha 1980-85
  • Union Minister of Commerce and Steel and Mines 1980-1982
  • Union Minister of Finance 1982-1984
  • Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund 1982-1985
  • Board of Governors of the World Bank 1982-1985
  • Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank 1982-1984
  • Board of Governors of the African Development Bank 1982-1985
  • Union Minister of Commerce and Supply 1984
  • Chairman of the Campaign Committee of Congress for conducting national elections to Parliament 1984, 1991, 1996 and 1998
  • Chairman of the Group of 24 (a ministerial group attached to IMF and World Bank) 1984 and 2009–2012
  • President of the State Unit of Congress Party in West Bengal 1985 and 2000–10
  • Chairman of the Economic Advisory Cell of the AICC 1987-1989
  • Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission 1991-1996
  • Union Minister of Commerce 1993-1995
  • Union Minister of External Affairs 1995-1996
  • President, SAARC Council of Ministers' Conference 1995
  • General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee 1998-1999
  • Chairman of the Central Election Coordination Committee 1999-2012
  • Leader of the House of the Lok Sabha 2004-2012
  • Union Minister of Defence 2004-2006
  • Union Minister of External Affairs 2006-2009
  • Union Minister of Finance 2009-2012

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