Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee dies at 84

Former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee has passed away today. He was 84.

He died due to failure of multiple organ after being admitted to hospital weeks ago, having also contracted coronavirus.

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The Bengal-origin politician was a protege of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was a member of her cabinet when she suspended democratic rights in the infamous ‘Emergency’ of 1975-77, reports The New Age.

Mukherjee’s star waned after Gandhi’s murder 36 years ago when he was an opponent to Rajiv Gandhi for leadership of the Congress party.

He shortly broke away from Congress, but after Rajiv Gandhi was murdered 29 years ago, his political fortunes revived.

Mr. Pranab became Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s right-hand-man during his decade in power from 2004-14, serving as defence, foreign and finance minister, winning a cross-party reputation as a skilled negotiator.

Nevertheless, his performance as finance minister was criticized for his failure to push through economic liberalization measures.

8 years ago, he moved away from active politics and became the president of India. He served as president until 2017.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from the arch-rival nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said Mukherjee ‘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,’ Modi said on Twitter.

Current president Ram Nath Kovind called Mukherjee ‘a colossus in public life’ who served India ‘with the spirit of a sage’.

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