Pranab Mukherjee | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Pranab Mukherjee

PTI | Byhindustantimes.com
May 18, 2004 03:48 PM IST

Known for his expertise in economic and financial matters, Pranab Mukherjee was rated one of the best finance ministers of the world in 1984.

Known for his expertise in economic and financial matters, Pranab Mukherjee was rated one of the best finance ministers of the world in 1984.

Among his friends and admirers, "Pranab Babu" has the image of a "bhadralok" (gentleman). He is often described as "human computer" owing to his mastery over facts and figures. He possesses a phenomenal memory.

A commerce graduate from Calcutta University, Mukherjee was very fast to rise up the Congress ladder. He contested the elections from Malda in 1977 and later in 1980 from Bolpur.

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Interestingly, he has never won a Lok Sabha election but that did not prevent him from becoming a central minister. He went on to become Indira Gandhi's trusted colleague and was the finance minister in her cabinet after Congress's return to power in 1980. Very soon he was made a Rajya Sabha member.

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In the government, he was trained by C Subramanian, who has come to be known as the father of the green revolution. Mukherjee acknowledges him as "Guru".

Mukherjee learnt from Subramanian decision-making and how to deal with bureaucracy. At the same time, he was made member of the Congress party’s powerful Parliamentary Board and entrusted with important assignments in the organisation like handling political problems in the states. He, in fact, became the trouble shooter of the Prime Minister.

Strengths

Expertise in economic and financial matters 

Trusted lieutenant of Congress presidents

Experienced administrator

Weakness

Lacks grassroot support

Unpopular  among allies

Now 64, he has been a member of the Rajya Sabha for 24 years and was re-elected only months back for another six-year term. The completion of his present tenure will set a new record. Never before a leader remained a member of the Upper House for 30 years.

Despite the fact that he has not contested elections for the last 24 years, Mukherjee, known as a party strategist, remains the prime campaigner for his party in his home state of West Bengal. He had also floated his own party in 1987 only to return to the Congress two years later.

However, this year's elections will see the veteran leader back in the fray. Congress has decided to field him from the Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency. He described his return as a response to the "emotional" demand from leaders of West Bengal.

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