New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee was today elected as the 13th President, marking a new journey for the veteran Congress leader after over four decades of life in active politics.
Mukherjee, UPA nominee, got 5,64,469 vote value, well beyond the half-way mark of 5,25,140 in an electoral college of over 10.5 lakh when counting of votes polled by the MPs and MLAs of 20 of the 30 states was completed.
His rival P A Sangma, who was backed by BJP and some other opposition parties like AIADMK and BJD, could manage only 2,57,466 vote value, according to Rajya Sabha Secretary General V K Agnihotri, who is the Returning Officer for the poll.
Mukherjee, 76-year-old Congress leader, brings to the top Constitutional post a wealth of experience as he has held key positions in the party and government, including holding the portfolios of Finance, Defence and External Affairs.
He established a clear lead right from the beginning when counting of votes of MPs completed and maintained it across the states, except the BJP-ruled ones. He sprang a surprise in BJP-ruled Karnataka where he got the votes of 117 MLAs against BJP's 103 in the 224-member Assembly.
Mukherjee has five books published to his credit on political and economic issues and under his editorial guidance, the history of Congress was published in which there was a candid admission of excesses during the Emergency.
He got the best Parliamentarian Award in 1997. Ten years later, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour.
In Congress Party, Mukherjee became AICC treasurer in 1978. Journalists and AICC media department officials still recall Mukherjee's tenure as the Media Department Chairman of the party. Mukherjee was AICC General Secretary in 1998-99.
In 1984-1991, 1996 and 1998, Mukherjee was Chairman of the Campaign Committee of AICC, besides being a member of the Congress Working Committee and Congress Election Committee.
Mukherjee held all the key portfolios including Defence from May 2004 to October 2006 and External Affairs from October 2006 to May 2009 besides the Finance portfolio, which he held again in 2009 after a gap of 27 years.
In the past, he also held portfolios like Commerce and Steel and Mines, Revenue and Banking (Independent Charge), Shipping and Transport, Industrial Development, Commerce and Supply besides presiding over a number of Parliamentary Committees.
Mukherjee got married to Suvra on July 13, 1957 and has two sons--Abhijit and Indrajit-- and daughter Sharmistha. Abhijit is a Congress MLA in West Bengal.