It was exactly a quarter of a century ago in February 1984 that Pranab Mukherjee last presented a Finance Bill. His star was on the ascendant then but eight months later, after Indira Gandhi's assassination by her Sikh bodyguards, it dipped completely out of sight.
From being No. 2 in the Cabinet, Mukherjee was dropped from it altogether and banished to the outer darkness of politics by Rajiv Gandhi. Ironically, when the time came to choose a new Prime Minister in 1991 after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination by the LTTE, it was Mukherjee who was deputed by the Congress Working Committee to tell Sonia Gandhi that she had been chosen. She declined; instead P.V. Narasimha Rao became the Prime Minister.
It was another three years later when Narasimha Rao rehabilitated Mukherjee as External Affairs Minister.
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