Former president Pranab Mukherjee dies at 84

Former president Pranab Mukherjee dies at 84
Late Pranab Mukherjee
NEW DELHI, AUG 31 | Publish Date: 8/31/2020 12:46:31 PM IST


Former president Pranab Mukherjee, statesman, scholar and one of India’s most respected leaders across the political spectrum, died on Monday evening following a 21-day battle with multiple ailments. He was 84. He leaves behind two sons and one daughter. His wife Surva Mukherjee predeceased him five years ago. Mukherjee, who was admitted to the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital on August 10 and was operated for a removal of a clot in the brain the same day. 

The long-time Congress leader and seven-time parliamentarian, known for his encyclopaedic memory and insights into varied issues, had tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of his admission and was being treated for a lung infection. He suffered a septic shock on Sunday and died of a cardiac arrest at 4.30 pm, the hospital said. 

Mukherjee was one of India’s youngest finance minister when he was appointed to the post in 1982, at the age of 47. Though Mukherjee had been part of an elected government for several terms, it was only in 2004 that he won a Lok Sabha election for the first time-- from Jangipur in West Bengal.

When he became president in 2012, Mukherjee as minister in the UPA, headed 24 of 39 GOMs (groups of ministers). Between 2004-2012, he chaired 95 GOMs. While most of Mukherjee’s political life was fairly non-controversial, his visit to the RSS headquarters in Nagpur in June 1988, a year after he demitted office, generated huge controversy. His Bharat Ratna in 2019 also became the centre of debate.

7-day state mourning: Centre announced seven-day state mourning from August 31 to September 6. 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. The funeral will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday at the Lodhi Road crematorium, his family said.


As condolences poured in for India’s 13th president, who served as the country’s first citizen from 2012 to 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind described Mukherjee’s demise as the passing of an era. “A colossus in public life, he served Mother India with the spirit of a sage. The nation mourns losing one of its worthiest sons. Condolences to his family, friends & all citizens,” Kovind said.

PM: Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described him as a scholar par excellence and a towering statesman who was admired across the political spectrum. “India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee. He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation,” Modi tweeted.

Known as a consensus builder, the West Bengal born Mukherjee spent much of his five decades in public life as a Congress worker but also inspired trust among leaders across political divides.

Dr. Singh: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee’s colleague in the Congress said he had learnt a lot from him and depended on him a great deal for his wisdom, vast knowledge and experience of public affairs. 

“In his death, our country has lost one of its greatest leaders of Independent India. He and I worked very closely in the Government of India and I depended on him a great deal for his wisdom, vast knowledge and experience of public affairs,” he said. 

Sonia: Congress president Sonia Gandhi in her condolence message said: “Pranab Da had been such an integral and prominent part of national life, the Congress party and the central government for over five decades, it is hard to imagine how we can do without his wisdom, experience, sage advice and deep understanding of so many subjects.” 

Gov, CM, others condole

Nagaland Governor RN Ravi, chief minister Neiphiu Rio, NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer, deputy CM Y Patton, Leader of Opposition TR Zeliang and NPCC president K Therie  condoled the demise of Pranab Mukherjee.

In a condolence message, Ravi said late Pranab Mukherjee dedicated his life to the service of the Nation. Governor described late Mukherjee as a statesman who significantly shaped the course of modern Indian history and through his personal conduct left a legacy of value based politics. In his departure the country has lost a great son, Ravi said.

CM: In a condolence message, Rio said late Mukerjee was a towering personality of modern India and would be remembered as a stout Congressman and Parliamentarian and a much respected President of the country. 

Rio said Mukerjee had a close bond with the Naga people and always showed deep concern for the people of Nagaland. He last visited Nagaland in 2013 and graced Statehood Day and Hornbill Festival celebrations and the Naga people still recollect memorable experiences of his visit, Rio said.

State chief minister, on behalf of the Naga people and the Government of Nagaland, offered deepest condolences. 

NLA Speaker: Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) speaker Sharingain Longkumer said late Mukherjee was one of the tallest leaders Independent India had produced during the past century. 

NLA speaker said late Mukherjee distinguished himself in every area he chose to associate himself with and left an indelible imprint of his personality on all of them. “He was undoubtedly a Statesman of outstanding calibre,” Longkumer said and shared the grief of the bereaved family and the rest of the nation. 

Dy. CM: State deputy chief minister, Y Patton, said that late Mukherjee was a diplomat, a veteran politician and a fine statesman, adding that his political career spanning a glorious five decades was “enviable.” In his death, Patton said the country has lost a respected citizen of the world. 

Patton, who is also BJP Nagaland legislature party leader, on behalf of the BJP legislators, conveyed his deepest condolences and prayed for the departed soul to rest in peace.

LoP: Leader of Opposition TR Zeliang said the demise of Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee would leave behind a huge vacuum in India. 

Zeliang described late Mukherjee as a fine statesman, who, through sheer intellect and wisdom, thrived and achieved enviable accomplishments in his life. 

NPCC president: Expressing shock and grief over the demise of Pranab Mukherjee, NPCC president K Therie said: “he has left us when we needed him the most.”

In a condolence message, Therie said he had high hopes of late Mukherjee reuniting the nation reeling under a religious divide and was wishing for his early recovery.

Describing late Mukherjee as a leader who could feel the passion and pain of the people, NPCC president said he always responded to the smallest issue presented before him as he considered every citizen as equal. 

Therie, on behalf of the people of Nagaland and NPCC rank and files, conveyed deep and sincere condolences to his children, grandchildren and family members.

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