Pranab Mukherjee

A political stalwart and Statesman Pranab Mukherjee passes away

KOLKATA: The Indian Journalists’ Association (IJA) deeply mourns the passing of political stalwart and statesman, Pranab Mukherjee (84), a former President of India and Bharat Ratna after battling a long illness in New Delhi on Monday.
Pranab Mukherjee was the 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017. He was hospitalised for a surgery to remove a brain clot on August 10. Despite being diagnosed as Covid-19  positive, he underwent the operation.
He was a journalist and professor before he entered politics in his home State, West Bengal. In 1969, Mukherjee entered politics and managed the election campaign of V.K. Krishna Menon, an independent candidate. The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, recognised his talent and asked him to join Congress, an offer he didn’t reject.
In 1969, Indira Gandhi helped him to become a member of Rajya Sabha. In 1975, 1981, 1993 and 1999, he was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha.
In 2004, he became the leader of Lok Sabha. Before Manmohan Singh was appointed as the Prime Minister, it was speculated that Pranab Mukherjee would go on to occupy the office of the PM. From 2004, he went on to head three crucial ministries — external affairs, defence and finance —and became the first occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan to have this distinction.
Being a former journalist and political stalwart he always kept close relations with media persons across the country. He was particularly close to members of the Indian Journalists’ Association.
He had inaugurated the 90th anniversary celebrations of IJA in Kolkata on January 18, 2013. In his address he recalled attending meetings of the IJA, which came into being with membership from as far away as Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
Dwelling on the professional matter the President said freedom of expression was guaranteed by the Constitution. The media was expected to guide public by offering impartial views and making objective assessment. In these days of proliferation of media, ethics of the journalistic profession assumed great significance. He stressed on the integrity factor of the media.
The IJA sends its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, admirers and supporters.