Former President Pranab Mukherjee passed away aged 84 on Monday afternoon after he developed a lung infection, after having tested positive for COVID-19, at the Army’s Research and Referral hospital. He had earlier been admitted for a brain surgery.
Mr. Mukherjee, born in 1935 in Mirati, West Bengal. He first became a member of the Rajya Sabha on a Congress nomination in 1969.
Mr. Mukherjee worked closely with former prime minister Indira Gandhi and subsequent Congress governments, over the years, holding many key ministerial positions including defence, finance, and external affairs, before he was elected President of India in 2012.
The Prime Ministership, a personal ambition, unfortunately eluded him, even though he was considered the most suited to the top job by his peers.
As Defence Minister, he inked a game-changing defence pact with the US, paving the way for deeper maritime cooperation and increased opportunities in technology and trade between India and the US. As Foreign Minister, he signed the historic Indo-US Nuclear Deal.
Another key decision made was during Mukherjee’s leadership in the finance ministry, that made global headlines, when he amended India’s Income Tax Act retrospectively to tackle the tax avoidance by multinational companies
Mr. Mukherjee was one of the few statesmen that commanded respect and retained his friendships across party lines, having many admirers across the aisles in a storied career.
Mr. Mukherjee’s wife Suvra Mukherjee passed away in 2015 and his children carry his legacy forward in Indian politics.
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