Pranab Mukherjee passes away: 7 things you need to know about the former President

On Monday, India's 13th President, Pranab Mukherjee passed away. The news was announced on Twitter by his son Abhijit Mukherjee.

"With a Heavy Heart , this is to inform you that my father Shri Pranab Mukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital & prayers ,duas and prarthanas from people throughout India!" he had tweeted.

Following the news, many have taken to social media to express their grief and to share anecdotes and memories they have of the former Congress leader. This in turn has led us to put together a list of seven things that you might not know about Pranab Mukherjee.

1. He has had a political career spanning more than 50 years. Apart from holding the post of President, he had earlier been the Finance and Defence Minister of the country.

2. He is one of the few politicians who had held all three major portfolios of Finance, Defence and External Affairs. Alongside, he is also the only Finance Minister of India who had presented budgets in both the pre and post liberalisation era.

3. Before being a politician, Mukherjee had been a clerk at the Post and Telegraph office in Calcutta, a political science professor at the Vidyanagar College and then a journalist.

4. While Mukherjee had been brought into the Congress fold by Indira Gandhi, quickly rising through the ranks, he was sidelined in the aftermath of Gandhi's death. While some had considered him a possible successor, eventually Mukherjee was sent to manage the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee.

5. He had shared a cordial relationship with Prime Minister Modi with the latter even suggesting at a rally in 2014 that Pranab Mukherjee should have become the Prime Minister of India in 1984 or 2004.

"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," Modi tweeted following news of his death.

6. Mukherjee had played a crucial role in the passage of the Indo-US nuclear deal and in helping India acquire an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

7. Despite the fact that his political career has taken him across the country, Pranab Mukherjee had always remained true to his Bengali roots. On numberous occasions Mukherjee had been photographed donning puja robes and performing priestly duties at the Durga puja held at his ancestral home in West Bengal's Birbhum.

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Free Press Journal