Pranab Kumar Mukherjee born 11 December 1935) is the 13th and current President of India, in office since July 2012. In a political career spanning six decades, Mukherjee was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India. Prior to his election as President, Mukherjee was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012, and the Congress party's top troubleshooter.
Mukherjee got his break in politics in 1969 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi helped him get elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, on a Congress ticket. Following a meteoric rise, he became one of Indira Gandhi's most trusted lieutenants, and a minister in her cabinet by 1973. During the controversial Internal Emergency of 1975–77, he was accused (like several other Congress leaders) of committing gross excesses. Mukherjee's service in a number of ministerial capacities culminated in his first stint as finance minister in 1982–84. Mukherjee was also Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985.
Mukherjee was sidelined from the Congress during the premiership of Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's son. Mukherjee had viewed himself, and not the inexperienced Rajiv, as the rightful successor to Indira following her assassination in 1984. Mukherjee lost out in the ensuing power struggle. He formed his own party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, which merged with the Congress in 1989 after reaching a consensus with Rajiv Gandhi. Mukherjee's political career revived when Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao appointed him Planning Commission head in 1991 and foreign minister in 1995. Following this, as elder statesman of the Congress, Mukherjee was the principal and architect of Sonia Gandhi's ascension to the party's presidency in 1998.Pranab was born in a Bengali Brahmin family in Mirati in the Birbhum district of Bengal province (now in West Bengal). His father was active in the Indian independence movement and was a member of West Bengal Legislative Council between 1952 and 1964 as a representative of the Indian National Congress and was the member of AICC. His mother was Rajlakshmi.
He attended the Suri Vidyasagar College in Suri (Birbhum), then affiliated to University of Calcutta. He subsequently earned an MA degree in Political Science and History and also LL.B.degree both from University of Calcutta.
Dr. Manmohan Singh appointed Mukherjee as the Minister of Defence of India when the Congress came to power in 2004. Mukherjee held the post until 2006. He expanded co-operation with the United States during his tenure. The Times of India reported on the Wikileaks cables release and noted how " United States is full of praise for the "uniformed leadership" of Indian armed forces, especially Navy, as well as ministers like Mukherjee." Mukherjee in June 2005 had inked the 10-year Indo-US Defence Framework deal.Mukherjee was nominated as the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Alliance on 15 June 2012 after considerable political intrigue. The elections were scheduled to be conducted on 19 July 2012 and the results were expected to be announced on 22 July 2012. As many as 81 other candidates had filed nominations but the Election Commission rejected all except that of P. A. Sangma, the nominee of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).[not in citation given] In order to file his nomination for the presidential poll on 28 June, Mukherjee had resigned from the government on 26 June 2012.
In the election, Mukherjee received 713,763 votes, while Sangma had 315,987. In his victory speech, delivered outside his residence before the results were officially announced, he said:
I would like to express my deep gratitude to all of you who are waiting. The figure has crossed 7 lakhs, only one state remains. The final figure will come from the returning officer. I would like to thank the people of India for electing me to this high office. The enthusiasm, the warmth of the people was remarkable. I have received much more from the people of this country, from the Parliament, than I have given. Now I have been entrusted with the responsibility of protecting and defending the constitution as President. I will try and justify the trust of the people. I would like to reciprocate the congratulation Shri Purno Sangma has extended.
Mukherjee was sworn-in by the Chief Justice of India on 25 July 2012, becoming the first Bengali to hold the post of President of India.After being administered the oath of office, he said we are amidist of fourth world war of terror and what minutes of peace can achieve cannot be achieved in many years of war
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