India’s government has announced seven days of mourning in response to the news of the death of their former president and a senior leader of the Congress party, Pranab Mukherjee at the age of 84.
Mukherjee, according to Delhi’s Army Hospital Research and Referral, tested positive for coronavirus after having emergency surgery for a blood clot in his brain on 10 August after a fall. This put him in a critical condition, keeping him in a coma after the operation. His son, former lawmaker Abhijeet Mukherjee later tweeted that he had died.
“With a heavy heart, this is to inform you that my father Shri #PranabMukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital & prayers, duas, and prarthanas from people throughout India! I thank all of You,” tweeted Abhijit Mukherjee on Monday.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party used his twitter account to grieve the former president’s passing. “He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar, a towering statesman, he was admired across all the political spectrum and by all sections of society,”
Mukherjee’s death comes after India recorded the world’s highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, hitting a huge blow to a nation that had begun easing lockdown restrictions to save the dying economy. India has registered a high 3.6 million coronavirus cases with 64,000 patients losing their lives.
Born on December 11, 1935, Mukherjee got his break in politics in 1969 when the then PM Indira Gandhi helped him get elected the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament of India on a Congress ticket. This spurred his rise as he became one of Gandhi’s most trusted lieutenants earning him a number of top responsibilities such as the Finance Minister of India from 1982-1984. He went on to hold various positions in cabinet till July 2012 when Mukherjee comfortably defeated P.A Sangma in the race to the presidency, winning 70% of the electoral college vote. In 2017, Mukherjee decided not to run for re-election for the presidency which is largely ceremonial with executive powers vested in the Prime Minister’s office.
Pranab lost his wife in 2015 and is survived by two sons an a daughter. May his soul rest in peace.