Pranab Mukherjee sworn in as 13th President of India

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Chief Justice of India, Justice SH Kapadia administering
the oath of the office of the President of India to
Pranab Mukherjee at a swearing-in ceremony in the Central Hall
of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 25, 2012.
New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday took oath as the 13th President of India. 
At a swearing-in ceremony organised in the Central Hall of Parliament, Mukherjee was administered the oath of office by the Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia.

While addressing the gathering, President Mukherjee said, “I am deeply moved by the high honour you have accorded to me. Such honour exalts the occupant of this office, even as it demands that he rises above personal or partisan interests in the service of the national good.”

He asserted, “The principal responsibility of this office is to function as the guardian of our Constitution. I will strive, as I said on oath, to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution not just in word but also in spirit.”

Notably, the 76-year-old veteran Congress leader gained 373,116 MP votes and 340,647 MLA votes for a total of 713,763 votes to win the presidential election. He defeated his lone rival PA Sangma, who got 145,848 MP votes and 170,139 MLA votes for a total of 315,987 votes.

Born in December, 1935, Mukherjee began his political career with the Indian National Congress in 1969 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and soon became one of her top lieutenants.

His rise was meteoric in the early phase of his career and he became a cabinet minister in Indira Gandhi's government in 1973. Mukherjee rose through a series of cabinet posts to become the Finance Minister of India from 1982 to 1984. Mukherjee was Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985.

Mukherjee was sidelined from the Congress during the Rajiv Gandhi era. He had viewed himself, and not the rookie Rajiv Gandhi, as the rightful successor to Indira Gandhi. Mukherjee lost out in the ensuing power struggle. He formed his own political party, the Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress, but later merged it with Congress in 1989 after reaching a political compromise with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Mukherjee's political career revived when Prime Minister Narasimha Rao chose to appoint him as Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission and subsequently as a union cabinet minister in the 1990s. He served as the Minister of External Affairs (Foreign Minister) from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's cabinet.

Often described as “man of all seasons”, Mukherjee was the principal architect of Sonia Gandhi's entry into Indian politics in the 1990s. He became the elder statesman of the Congress party during this period. Mukherjee was Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2012. He served as the Minister of Defence from 2004 to 2006 and again served as the Minister of External Affairs from 2006 to 2009. He was the Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012 in the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mukherjee has received several accolades and honors. In 1984, he was rated as the best Finance Minister in the World according to a survey of Euromoney magazine. In 2010, he was awarded "Finance Minister of the Year for Asia" by Emerging Markets, the daily newspaper of record for the World Bank and the IMF. In December 2010, The Banker recognised him as the "Finance Minister of the Year."
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