After rough and tumble of politics, a new journey for Pranab

Pranab Mukherjee will embark on a new journey transcending political affiliations in the high Constitutional job with an ease none of his predecessors may have enjoyed because of his experience spanning 45 years in government and politics.

His election to the President's office today comes as a fitting finale for the 77-year-old Congressman from West Bengal, till recently the troubleshooter of UPA, a task he has handled for last eight years.

Not a lawyer by training but considered an expert in the working of the Constitution and governance, he was ever seen as the perennial 'No 2' in government.

Mukherjee was a utility man from the days of Indira Gandhi, when he was the powerful Minister of State for Revenue during the Emergency, and later as Finance Minister in the 80s.

His rise had been steady and such valuable was his contribution to government that his nomination as a Presidential candidate came after a huge dilemma for Congress party, which heads the UPA coalition that has moved from crisis to crisis in the last eight years.

The veteran leader, known for his photographic memory, had become a Rajya Sabha member for the first time in 1969. Mukherjee was for a long time member of the Upper House before his first direct election to the Lok Sabha in 2004 from Jangipur in West Bengal. He repeated his victory in the 2009 elections but had expressed a desire not to contest elections again in view of his advancing age.

Mukherjee was a top ranking minister and presided over the Union Cabinet meetings in the absence of the Prime Minister during 1980-1985.

Of course, Mukherjee had his own bad days in Congress which he had to quit in the mid 80s after he had evinced interest in becoming the Prime Minister after the death of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

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