Pranab Mukherjee: The Political Journey of the 13th President of India
The Swearing In Ceremony
Pranab Mukherjee became the 13th president of the Republicof Indiaon 25th July 2012. Seen as the strongest candidate to the Presidential chair ever since he declared his participation, Mukherjee’s victory by a considerable margin did not come as a surprise. The tabloids soon after his victory, declared that Pranab finally received the honour long due to him. The ceremony which saw once an ordinary government servant swear in as the first citizen of the country was graced by top guns of the Indian politics. Among those present at the ceremony were Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia, Cabinet ministers, leaders of opposition, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, governors, chief ministers, MPs and diplomats.
The Political Journey
The journey for Mukherjee was not at all a bed of roses. Pranab Mukherjee has proved his mettle by successfully carrying out all the responsibilities assigned to him under different profiles in the Indian politics. He has played his part successfully as the Minister of Finance (24-01-2009 to 26.06.2012), Minister of External Affairs (10.02.1995 to 16.05.1996), Minister of Defense (22.05.2004 to 26.10.2006), Commerce Minister (1980-82 &84) and the Chairman of the Planning Commission (24 June 1991 – 15 May 1996).
Born in the village named Mirati in West Bengaland graduated in Political Science and History, Pranab’s political potential was recognized by then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi when he organized a successful election campaign for Krishna Menon. He soon had Indian National Congress’s seat to Rajya Sabha, an act that repeated itself in the years 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999. After this Mukherjee went on to win the confidence of Indira Gandhi to an extent that he was often referred to as Mrs Gandhi’s “man of all seasons” in the political circle of that time. Pranab’s association with INC remained a fruitful experience for the growth of the party as well as his personal development. Between 1969 (the year when he was first offered the ticket to the Rajya Sabha) to 1984 (the year of assassination of Indira Gandhi), Pranab Mukherjee remained a key figure in the congress party as well as the Indian politics and assumed several significant positions in the party ranging from the role of Union Deputy Minister of Industrial Development in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet in 1973.
The Positions Held by Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee for the first and the only time stood in opposition to the Congress party after death of Indira Gandhi when he formed his own party called Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress. It is believed that Pranab was never in the good books of Rajiv Gandhi, son of Indira Gandhi and then Prime Minister of India. Following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in the year 1991, Pranab was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the planning Commission of India by P.V Narasimha Rao. Some of the significant positions held by Pranab after this period were:
- External Affairs Minister (1995 to 1996)
- General Secretary of the AICC(1998–99)
- President of theWest BengalCongress (2000-2010)
- Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha ( 2004)
- Head of the Congress Parliamentary Party and the Congress Legislative Party.
- Leader of the House in Lok Sabha andBengalPradesh Congress Committee President.
Pranab Mukherjee is also believed to be instrumental in the entry of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi into the politics and accountable for the appointment of Manmohan Singh as the governor of the reserve bank ofIndiain the year.
Agenda as the President
Pranab Mukherjee in his first ever speech as the President of India made a direct attack on the problem of poverty and corruption which are very rampant inIndia. He in succinct words stated that in order to tread on the path of development and success the marginalized and weaker sections of the society need to be given a sense of importance in the growth of the country.