Express News Service
BENGALURU: Former President of India and veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee toured extensively across Karnataka and worked tirelessly to ensure the victory of Indira Gandhi from the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency in 1978 — the historic election that turned the fate of Congress and ensured its return to power at the Centre. Mukherjee had also helped the state party unit with the Assembly elections earlier that year.
On his passing away on Monday, Congress leaders and political analysts reminisced about Pranabda’s contributions to the party in Karnataka.
“He was the go-to leader to solve any sticky issue or situation. In 1978, he toured the entire state when the party was facing difficult times,” said former Union minister and senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily.
Moily, who was then an MLA from the Karkala assembly segment — which was part of the Chikmagalur LS constituency, had campaigned along with Mukherjee for Indira Gandhi.
“We had also toured the entire state for eight to nine days, covering all the taluks from Bidar to Karwar. He played a big role in whipping up the wave for Congress in the state, and that had a big impact at the national level,” Moily said.
He said Pranabda was like “a mentor to me and was responsible for me occupying several positions later. Today, we have lost a great leader”.
Political analyst and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s media advisor Mahadeva Prakash recalled that Mukherjee travelled the length and breadth of the Chikmagalur LS constituency with Moily and Congress MLA K Gangadhar Gowda, who later became a minister for information when R Gundu Rao became the chief minister.
Mukherjee stayed put in the constituency for over a week and Prakash as a journalist had covered those elections for a Kannada daily.“He was a great leader and a simple person,” said senior Congress leader BL Shankar, who interacted with Mukherjee on several occasions. “He had a sharp memory and could quote historical facts offhand. He was instrumental in the success of the Congress, and later, UPA governments. As a Union minister, Pranab da would meet people even at 11 pm,” he added.
He was very humble: BBMP Commissioner
Bengaluru: He was a towering figure and a humble person — paying rich tribute to former President Pranab Mukherjee, BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad recollected that he had the honour of working with him when he was posted as tahsildar at Murshidabad in West Bengal in 2004. “In 2004, when Mukherjee was Rajya Sabha MP, he would visit the place to take stock of the situation.
When he became defence minister, he would come by rail, road or even by special defence aircraft. I would be assigned the duty of receiving him at the railway station at 3 am or 4 am,” he said. Prasad added that it was a pleasure to see him talk to the zilla heads on the ground situation. “He would give a patient hearing to take in all details, after which he would interact with the three area MPs,” he said.
The nation will forever be indebted to his tireless service and dedication to serving the nation. Om Shanti. Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister for Mines and Coal
Deeply anguished to know about the demise of Former President Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji
D V Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister for Chemicals
My deepest condolences to his family. India has lost a statesman whose knowledge of our history, constitution and laws was unparalleledD K Shivakumar, KPCC president
We had a long association spanning decades. I had always admired the way he combined his sharp intellect with hard work. May his soul rest in peace HD Devegowda, Former PM
India has lost a great visionary, thinker and statesman. His contribution to the country can never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family HD Kumaraswamy, Former CM
A statesman and patriot who was a live dictionary of events & dates. There are many memories I carry of him & many lessons I learnt from him Margaret Alva, Former Governor
STATE in mourning for seven days
State Government announced seven days state mourning, from Aug 31 to Sept 6, after former President Pranab Mukherjee died at a hospital in New Delhi on Monday.
No official entertainment programmes will be held during those days and the national flag will fly half-mast at government buildings where they are flown reglarly, according to a notification issued by the state government.
Meanwhile, Mayor M Goutham announced that the Kempegowda awards, which were scheduled to be held on September 2, have now been postponed.