Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee passes away
Banglapress Desk: Pranab Mukherjee, India’s former president and one of the country’s most respected politicians died on Monday in a Delhi hospital; he was 84. The elder statesman and one of India’s most respected politicians had tested positive for coronavirus, had been in coma after a brain surgery earlier this month, reports the NDTV.
“With a Heavy Heart , this is to inform you that my father Shri Pranab Mukherjee has just passed away inspite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital and prayers, duas and prarthanas from people throughout India ! I thank all of You,” his son Abhijit Mukherjee tweeted.
On Monday morning, the army hospital in Delhi had reported a decline in his condition. He had gone into septic shock due to his lung infection, the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital had said.
Mukherjee was admitted to hospital on August 10 and had surgery the same day for the removal of a clot in the brain. He had tested positive for Covid-19 in hospital.
“On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for Covid-19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self-isolate and get tested for Covid-19,” he had posted.
He developed a lung infection and a renal dysfunction over the past few days, according to doctors. In the past few weeks, there had been an outpouring of get-well-soon wishes from politicians across parties for the veteran, who was India’s minister of finance, defence and external affairs in several governments until he took the country’s highest post.
Pranab Mukherjee was the president of India from 2012 to 2017. A quintessential Congressman for five decades, the seven-time parliamentarian had worked as a teacher and journalist before taking his first steps in politics. His first stop in Delhi was the Rajya Sabha in 1969, the House that re-elected him four more times before he won his first Lok Sabha election from Bengal’s Jangipur in 2004. He was re-elected in 2009.
Mukherjee, who was seen as a formidable political strategist, draftsman and parliamentarian with an astute legal mind, prospered in Delhi. He first made it to Indira Gandhi’s council of ministers in 1972 and never looked back, going on to hold some of the most powerful portfolios – finance, commerce, external affairs and defence – in Congress governments.
Pranab Mukherjee was considered the sharpest mind and the prime troubleshooter in the government led by Manmohan Singh, who he had appointed as RBI governor in the 1980s.
His last stop in public life was in India’s Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mukherjee, a nominee of the Congress-led UPA coalition, was elected India’s president in 2012. By the time he exited Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2017, he left the legacy of a president who spoke his mind to the government and yet, kept the bridges and friendships intact.
In January 2019, Mukherjee was also named for the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who described him as the “outstanding statesman of our times”.
The former Indian president was born in 1935 in Mirati, in South Bengal’s Birbhum district. As a politician he was known for his obsession with printed words and rule books; but described himself in his memoir as “a restless child…with a penchant for avoiding studies”.
His father Kamada Kinkar, a staunch Congressman and modest land owner, brought up his children in an atmosphere of Congress-defined patriotism in pre-independence India.
One of the key chapters of Pranab Mukherjee’s life, considered a successful foreign minister, was his association with Bangladesh.
A trusted friend of Bangladesh, he played a crucial role in the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. After becoming president, Pranab made his first foreign tour to Bangladesh on March 13, 2013.