Pranab Mukherjee wins Indian presidential poll

Monday, July 23, 2012
Pranab Mukherjee
[Credit: Eric Miller/WEA]
New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader and former Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday won India’s presidential election.

United Progressive alliance’s (UPA) nominee Pranab got more than 5,58,000 votes crossing the required half-way mark of 5,25,140 after counting of votes in half of the states became over.

Reportedly, his lone rival and National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) candidate PA Sangma managed to get vote value of only 2,39,966 at the end of counting on Maharashtra, the 15th of the 30th states.

Earlier today, as per the norm, the ballot boxes from the states have been brought to the national capital for the counting.

The polling percentage has been less than expected this time with only 72 per cent of the total votes - valued at 11 lakh - polled.

At least 72 per cent of MPs and MLAs across the country have voted to elect a new President. As many as 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs with a total vote value of 10.98 lakh votes were eligible to cast their ballot in the election. As per information received from 22 states, 2937 MLAs and 40 MPs had cast their 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."

Indian government honoured him with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of India, in 2008.

Pranab is to be sworn in as the 13th President of India on 25 July 2012 at 11:30 AM (IST). 
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