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NEW DELHI: From being a Congress party worker to the President of India, from being an avid reader to a tough taskmaster, Pranab Mukherjee was India’s youngest finance minister in 1982 at the age of 47.
During his long political life, Mukherjee, fondly known as Pranab Da, held many posts during the Congress rule and went on to become the 13th President of India.
Here are ten things to know about the former President:
* Pranab Mukherjee rose in the ranks of the Congress party when Indira Gandhi spotted him during a by-election in Midnapore, West Bengal where he was VK Krishna Menon’s election agent.
* Mukherjee started his parliamentary journey through the Rajya Sabha in 1969. The former President won his first election in 2004 from Jangipur in West Bengal.
* From 2004, he went on to head three crucial ministries — external affairs, defence and finance — and became the first occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to have this distinction.
* He will also go down in history as the only non-prime minister who was the leader of the Lok Sabha for eight years.
* Known for his political acumen and ability to form consensus across party lines, Mukherjee was heading 24 of 39 GOMs (groups of ministers) when he became President in 2012. Between 2004-12, he chaired 95 GOMs.
* When his wife of 58 years Suvra Mukherjee passed away in 2015, Mukherjee took refuge in his work and was back in office within four hours of attending her last rites.
* The former President has written eight books during his lifetime.
* Mukherjee was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 2019 by incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind. He was also conferred the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2008.
* In a political career spanning five-decades, Mukherjee served as Union finance minister, defence minister, minister for external affairs, Leader of House of Lok Sabha, among other ministerial portfolios.
* His stint as Union finance minister earned him international fame. Pranab was recognised as the Best finance minister in the World (1984), according to a Euromoney magazine survey. Finance Minister of Year for Asia (2010), by Emerging Markets, the daily newspaper of record for World Bank and IMF and Finance Minister of Year (2010), by The Banker.

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