Pranab Mukherjee to be honoured with Bharat Ratna today

Updated: Aug 08, 2019, 15:00 IST | mid-day online correspondent

Former president Mukherjee has held key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh

Pranab Mukherjee to be honoured with Bharat Ratna today
Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Pic/PTI

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, will be honoured with India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna by President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday.

The 83-year-old leader will be awarded the Bharat Ratna along with social activist Nanaji Deshmukh and noted Assamese singer Bhupen Hazarika,  who would be awarded posthumously. The awardees for the honour were announced on January 25, this year. The other Presidents, who had been conferred the Bharat Ratna include Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Rajendra Prasad, Zakir Hussain, V.V. Giri and APJ Abdul Kalam, who was honoured before he became the President of India.

Also Read: Bhupen Hazarika's son Tej: He is India's gift to the world

Life and Career

The 83-year-old served as India's 13th President from 2012-2017, but prior to his election to the post, Mukherjee also served as the Union Finance Minister in the UPA-led government from 2009 to 2012. Born on December 11, 1935, in a Bengali family in Mirati, West Bengal, the former president completed his LLB degree and Masters in Political Science and History from University of Calcutta.

A political career that spanned about five decades, Mukher jee has held key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh. As Finance Minister in Indira Gandhi’s government, Mukherjee signed the letter appointing Manmohan Singh as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 1982.

Mukherjee, in his term as the president, had passed many landmark laws, one of them being the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, also known as the Nirbhaya Act, ensure stringent punishment for sexual offences. He is also said to reject as many as 24 mercy pleas including that of 1993 Bombay bomb blast convict Yakub Memon, sole-surviving 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab and 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Also Read: Maha Assembly congratulates ex-Prez Pranab Mukherjee for Bharat Ratna

Reactions to the honour

Political leaders across party lines had also wished Mukherjee as his name was announced for India’s highest civilian honour in January. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mukherjee for his service to the country. "Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation's growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna," he had tweeted.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too conveyed his best wishes to Mukherjee. "Congratulations to Pranab Da on being awarded the Bharat Ratna! The Congress Party takes great pride in the fact that the immense contribution to public service & nation-building of one of our own, has been recognised & honoured," he had tweeted.

With inputs from ANI

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