Mukherjee is born on December 11, 1935, in Mirati village in Bengal (now West Bengal). He studied history, political science and law at the University of Calcutta.
1963-1968: Early career
Mukherjee works as an upper-division Clerk in the Office of Deputy Accountant-General (Post and Telegraph) in Calcutta. In 1963, he becomes Lecturer of Political Science at Vidyanagar College and also takes up a job as journalist with the Desher Dak.
1969: Mukherjee enters politics
Indira Gandhi recognises Mukherjee's talent after he successfully manages the Midnapore by-election campaign of independent candidate, V K Krishna Menon. In July 1969, he becomes a member of the Rajya Sabha and is re-elected to that House in 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999.
1973-1977: Role in the Emergency
In 1973, Mukherjee is appointed Deputy Minister of Industrial Development. The Shah Commission, appointed by the Janata Party government, accuses him of using extra-constitutional powers to "wreck established norms and rules of governance" during the 1975-1977 Emergency. However, he emerges unscathed from the charges.
1979-1984: Finance Minister and Rajya Sabha leader
In 1979, Mukherjee becomes deputy leader of the Congress party in the Rajya Sabha and is later appointed Leader of the House in 1980. He serves as Finance Minister from 1982 to 1984.
1985-1991: Indira and Rajiv Gandhi's assassinations
Mukherjee is out of favour in the Congress after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. The next year, he splits from the Congress and forms his own party in West Bengal. Mukherjee and Rajiv Gandhi, who is prime minister now, reconcile soon enough and the Bengal politician returns to the Congress. After Rajiv's assassination in 1991, Mukherjee is seen as a potential prime minister but P V Narasimha Rao takes the post.
1991-1996: Return to limelight
In 1991, Rao appoints Mukherjee as deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. Mukherjee later takes up the role of External Affairs Minister from 1995 to 1996 in Rao's Cabinet.
1998-99: Role in Sonia Gandhi's entry into politics
Mukherjee, who is considered the architect of Sonia Gandhi's entry into politics, is made General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee in 1998–99. In 2000, he is appointed President of the West Bengal Congress: a post he goes on to hold until his resignation in 2010.
2004-2012: Mukherjee's role as 'Mr Dependable'
He handles defence, external affairs, and finance ministries in separate terms during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's time in power.
2012: India's First Citizen
ends his association with the Congress party after he retires from active politics to contest Presidential elections.
Mukherjee is sworn in on July 25, 2012 as the thirteenth President on India, becoming the first Bengali to hold the post. As President, Mukherjee promulgates Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences. Mukherjee rejects at least 24 mercy pleas, including that of convicted terrorists Yakub Memon, Ajmal Kasab, Afzal Guru.
In January 2017, Mukherjee says that he would not contest for 2017 Presidential elections, owing to failing health. He is awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna in 2019.
Dies in Delhi military hospital
dies at 84. He was admitted to a military hospital in Delhi on Augsut 10 after complaining of ill health. He tests positive for the coronavirus disease and later undergoes a successful surgery to remove a brain clot.
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