Pranab Mukherjee, India’s former President who left a mark on India’s political landscape passed away on Monday at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

At the hospital, the 84-year-old former President also tested positive for Covid-19. He was operated upon for removing a blood clot in his brain. His death was announced by his son Abhijit Mukherjee.

Pranab Mukherjee or Pranab Da, as affectionately called, was among the last of the Congress leaders to have worked closely with Indira Gandhi.

His political journey started in West Bengal when he was the election agent for VK Krishna Menon. Menon won the Midnapore by-election as an independent candidate.

Pranab Mukherjee received his first ministerial assignment in the Indira Gandhi cabinet in 1973, first as junior minister of industrial development. Within two years, he was elevated as a deputy minister with independent charge of revenue and banking departments.

In 1982, after Indira Gandhi returned to power after Emergency, she appointed Pranab Mukherjee as India’s finance minister, replacing R Venkataraman.

Mukherjee also played a pivotal role in helping the India-US civil nuclear agreement sail through despite threat of the government being toppled. Pranab da served for 23 years as a member of the Congress Working Committee.

He served five times as a member of Rajya Sabha and twice as a member of the Lok Sabha and was conferred Padma Vibhusan, India’s second-highest civilian award, in 2008. He served the country as the 13th President for five years from 2012 to 2017.

In 2004, Pranab Mukherjee was denied the prime minister’s post by Sonia Gandhi, the then President of the Congress Party. He was then in 2012 made the President in order to pacify him.

The Centre has declared a seven-day national mourning as a mark of respect the Bharat Ratna recipient. The state funeral for Pranab Mukherjee will be held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, condoling the death of the former President

Congress MP from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi also expressed his grief at the passing of Pranab Mukherjee.

He was known for his sharp memory and has the rare distinction of serving as foreign minister, defence minister, commerce and finance minister and his passing has definitely left a void in India’s political space.

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