Pranab Mukherjee

Updated on Nov 19, 2005 04:13 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.

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PTI | Byhindustantimes.com

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.

Interestingly, he never won a Lok Sabha election until 2004, 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.

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 his "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 ago for another six-year term. The completion of his present tenure will set a new record. Never before has a leader remained a member of the Upper House for 30 years.

He floated his own party in 1987, but only to return to the Congress two years later.

Mukherjee was the prime campaigner for his party in his home state of West Bengal in these elections. He won from Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency, and described his return as a response to the "emotional" demand from leaders of West Bengal.

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