The special significance of number 13 in Pranab’s life

By GS Radhakrishna

Sept 1, 2020

New Delhi: It was the year 1973. Pranab Kumar Mukherji had visited Rastrapathi Bhavan to witness the swearing in of Indira Gandhi. But he walked out as a Union Minister of state for industries (thanks to Congress elders’ superstitious sentiment in numerology) . He was pushed to podium and took oath as the present numbers of the cabinet could spell doom to Indira regime, they felt .

Since then, the things that happened during sixty years of Pranab Mukherjee ‘s political voyage made him believe in the power of odd number of 13 and its multiples.

Pranab Mukherjee’s close friends and family members were surprised over the luck number 13 or its multiple which they believed brought to him. Since then his political, economic and other calculations had never gone wrong, except for a brief period during 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the Rajivsregime.

Till his tiff with Rajiv Gandhi, Pranab was the most confident person of Indira Gandhi who inducted him into CWC in 1978 itself and become No2 in Cabinet and party even circuiting PV Narasimha Rao . Except for 2004 and 2009, he was always elected to Rajya Sabha through her support. Indira Gandhi trusted him so much that though a junior minister she asked him to conduct Cabinet meetings in her absence .

He had crossed swords with Rajiv Gandhi who had sidelined him and sent him as WBPCC president, and later also suspended him for alleged anti-party activities. A desperate Pranab Da had formed Rastriya Samajawadi Congress in West Bengal which drowned in next elections. Disillusioned he later returned to Congress fold after Rajiv’s assassination and PV gave him much needed elevation back in Union Cabinet

For superstitious perosns, No13 is associated with bad luck, but this West Bengal prodigy found that it worked wonders for him. His marriage was also on July13, 1957. He was first elected to Lok Sabha on May13, 2004 .He was the 13th President of India. He lived for longest at No.13 Talkatora Road in Delhi. As trouble shooter for Sonia Gandhi, he held office at No.13 in the Parliament House. He handled all tricky issues for Sonia Gandhi including ouster of Sitaram Kesari from Congress president post. Later on, Pranab also successfuly handled the Sonia foreign origin issue raised in Parliament by Sharad Pawar . He was the party’s main trouble shooter in dealing with TMC and DMK, then partners of the UPA regime .

Despite being senior most minister in Indira cabinet he missed being interim PM after her assassination. After Rajiv’s assassination also he lost out to PV Narasimha Rao as he was out of Congress for a while. But PV not only salvaged his career but also retained him as a buffer against Sonia clique. But not for long, as Pranab Dada turned over to Sonia group in later days.

He is termed as Kalidas of Indian politics in view of his prolific writing habit. His personal diary is said to have intrinsic accounts of the all happenings including the skulduggery of events during Indira, Rajiv and also Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi hierarchy in the party .

Dada played a major role as trouble shooter for Sonia Gandhi during the last two terms of UPA .It is however said that Pranab Dada got disoriented over continuation of Manmohan Singh as PM for second term .Though he was sought after by BJP etc in the later days he remained loyal to Congress party thereafter.

Many congressmen feel today that the recent crisis at CWC Meeting and congress rebel letter could have been resolved amicably, if Dada was actively engaged in party affairs .

Pranab Mukherjee had occupied the coveted seat of Finance ministry at young age of 47 years. He is known for his talents in survival in the sticky and swift sand Congress party in the last two decades.

—India News Stream