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Published On: Mon, Aug 31st, 2020

Pranab Mukherjee,India lost a political genius

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pranab-1-880553-1598884005NEW DELHI : Former president of India Pranab Mukherjee passed away on Monday evening at Delhi’s Army’s Research and Referral Hospital where he was admitted since August 10. He was 84.
The former President of India, who had tested positive for coronavirus, had been in coma after a brain surgery earlier this month.Mr Mukherjee was President of India from 2012 to 2017.
Mukherjee was a college teacher in West Bengal state before first running for public office in 1969. He became a protege of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and was loyal to her during the Internal Emergency she had proclaimed from 1975 to 1977, when elections were suspended and civil liberties were curbed. Many of her opponents were imprisoned.
His death has been widely condoled by leaders across the political spectrum of the country. Celebrities too expressed sadness over his death.On August 10, he was admitted to hospital where he underwent a surgery for the removal of a clot in the brain. He had tested positive for COVID-19 in hospital.

His son Abhijeet Mukherjee broke the news on Twitter. “With a Heavy Heart , this is to inform you that my father Shri #PranabMukherjee has just passed away inspite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital & prayers ,duas & prarthanas from people throughout India ! I thank all of You (sic),” he wrote.
Earlier in the day, the hospital had said that Mukherjee’s health deteriorated on Sunday night and had gone into “septic shock”. “There is a decline in the medical condition of  Mukherjee since yesterday,” said Army Hospital, where he was admitted. He was in deep coma and on ventilator support.

A seven-day state mourning will be observed throughout the country from 31 August to 6 September after the demise of former President Pranab Mukherjee, the government said. “During the period of State Mourning the National Flag will fly at half mast on all buildings throughout India, where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment,” a release said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to pay tribute, saying he was blessed to have Pranab Mukherjee’s guidance since he took office.
“India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee. He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society,” the PM said in tweets.
“I was new to Delhi in 2014. From Day 1, I was blessed to have the guidance, support and blessings of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I will always cherish my interactions with him. Condolences to his family, friends, admirers and supporters across India. Om Shanti,” he wrote.
“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 minister of finance, defence and external affairs in several governments until he took the country’s highest post.
In a tribute to her father, Pranab Mukherjee, who passed away today evening, Sharmistha Mukherjee posted an emotional tweet, quoting his favourite poet Rabindranath Tagore. She also said, “Baba…I feel blessed to have been born as your daughter”.
Taking to Twitter, Sharmistha Mukherjee said, “Shobare aami pronam kore jayi (I bow to all). Baba, taking the liberty to quote from your favourite poet to say your final goodbye to all. You have led a full, meaningful life in service of the nation, in service of our people. I feel blessed to have been born as your daughter.”
With Pranab’s death, an entire generation of Congress is coming to an end. Perhaps, he was the only one who remembered the history of Congress right from 1885 along with all events and their dates.
He had learned the constitution of the Congress by heart. During Congress working committee meetings, it was Pranab who used to draft all resolutions. His knowledge of the Congress constitution was so in-depth that he could devise his political plans utilising minute details from it.
Once to support the replacement of PV Narasimha Rao with Sitaram Kesari as Congress president without an organisational election, he dug out a provision from the party constitution. Again, while replacing Kesari with Sonia Gandhi, he cited another provision from the same rule book to support the party’s decision. Such was Pranab’s exhaustive understanding of the constitutional specifics of the Congress party.
Thus, Pranab became completely indispensable for the party and the government, and perhaps this indispensability was an obstacle for him. Pranab Babu realised that he would never reign in the Prime Minister’s chair and maybe that is why he aspired for the presidential election in 2007.
Though he never disclosed his aspiration to even his closest friends. But when Sonia Gandhi started discussions about the selection of a presidential candidate, the Left leaders named Pranab as the most suitable candidate.
Sonia outright replied that it was impossible for her to let Pranab go from the party and Parliament. After two days, she called Pranab in the evening to 10 Janpath. She said, “I know there is no one better than you for the presidential candidature, but you suggest a name who can be your able successor in the government and Parliament.” Pranab burst into laughter hearing Sonia’s googly. Sonia joined in laughing.

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