Pranab Unplugged: Nuggets about India’s new president
(IANS) / 23 July 2012
Interesting and little-known nuggets about Pranab Mukherjee, who has been elected India;s 13th president
- Mukherjee is among the handful of Indian politicians to have held the three key ministries of finance, defence and external affairs.
- Mukherjee is the only finance minister to have presented budgets in the pre-liberalisation and post-liberalisation era.
- Indira Gandhi once suggested to Mukherjee that he hire an English tutor and brush up his pronunciation. He simply refused, preferring his thickly accented Bengali English.
- Mukherjee was once famous for smoking his trademark Dunhill pipe. He gave up smoking many years ago and now advises others to kick the butt
- He is a deeply religious man and does not take a call when performing his puja. He can recite Sanskrit shlokas and “Chandi Path” from memory.
- He was derisively called a “rootless wanderer” by some of his party colleagues as he had never won a Lok Sabha election till 2004. When he won from the Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal in 2004, he literally wept with joy. “For me this is a dream come true, a dream I have cherished and nourished all my life,” he had said.
- He is a compulsive workaholic, who, according to his daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee, works nearly 18 hours a day. He has not taken a holiday since the last 20 years except a trip to his village every year for Durga Puja, when he dons a priest’s robe and performs prayers for four days.