As President-elect, Pranab Mukherjee begins a new chapter in public life that spans over four decades.
The country's highest office will have an occupant who has been in charge of three of the four key ministries - defence, external affairs and finance - in the central government in the past eight years.
But this is just one facet of the leader's professional expertise. Few people in today's politics can match his knowledge of parliamentary proceedings and the Constitution.
And Mukherjee is equally comfortable handling the toughest of political crisis be it the Telangana issue or Jammu and Kashmir militancy.
Mukherjee brings a range of political experience to the coveted office which few of his predecessors can match. Born in Mirati - a nondescript village in Birbhum district of West Bengal in 1935 - Mukherjee was no stranger to politics as his father Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee was a member of All India Congress Committee and West Bengal Legislative Council.
Mukherjee, who has a double MA and a law degree under his belt, began his career as an upper-division clerk in the office of deputy accountant general (Post and Telegraph) in Kolkata. Later, he became a college teacher and then switched to journalism before joining politics. He made his debut in Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in 1969.
Mukherjee is among those rare politicians in this fractured Indian polity who have received support from both the Shiv Sena and the CPM. He could even make Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy vote for him.
Mukherjee's nomination to the presidential post was also hailed by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav. Immediately after the election results were declared on Saturday, Hasina and Bangladesh President M. Zillur Rahman congratulated Mukherjee and wished him a successful tenure in office.
A protege of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mukherjee's rise was meteoric. He became a minister in Gandhi's government in 1973. His maiden portfolio was deputy minister, industrial development.
Thereafter there was no looking back and Mukherjee rose through a series of ministerial posts to become the finance minister from 1982 to 1984. It was during this stint that Mukherjee was rated among the best finance ministers of the world.
The return of Congress to power in 2004 to lead the UPA government saw Mukherjee being elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time. The Congress troubleshooter also held the charge of the leader of the Lok Sabha till recently.
A workaholic and avid reader, Mukherjee would surely miss his long working hours trying to solve crisis after crisis before the party and the government.
Courtesy: Mail Today