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Pranab Mukherjee, the lucky 13th
Though Bengal erupted in festivity after Pranab Mukherjee won the presidential elections, but many people from the state wanted to see him as the prime minister of India, rather than a ceremonial head so that he could serve the nation better.

WALKING DOWN the memory lane, Pranab Mukherjee’s sister Annapurna Banerjee recalled what she once said to her brother when she went on a visit to meet him in Delhi. That time she made her comment in a jest on her brother becoming India’s President, little did she know that her brother would really become the president of India one day.

On Sunday afternoon, Mukherjee’s hometown in Miriti, Birbhum in West Bengal and his constituency in Jangipur erupted in a festive mood with beating drums, distribution of sweets and burning of crackers. People all across the state celebrated the victory of Pranab Mukherjee who is going to be the first President from West Bengal. Political fault lines dissolved as the news came in that Pranab Mukherjee had got an indisputable lead and was going to take up his residence at Raisina Hill for the next five years.

Along with common people, many intellectuals of Bengal are seeing Pranab Mukherjee’s victory as their own victory and victory to the Bengali community as a whole since none of the leaders from Bengal has ever served the country’s top posts be it President or the Prime Minister before this.

Popular Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh said, “I am very happy that finally a Bengali has made it to the president’s office. He was in the national scene for a long time but this is a completely different honour.” Celebrated Bengali film star Soumitra Chatterjee said, “I am happy that we will finally have a Bengali President. To see Bengali whom I have known for years, in the country’s highest chair makes me proud.” However Sunil Gangopadhay, eminent Bengali writer believed it would have been better to see Pranab as the Prime Minister. “I am sure like me, everybody else is also thrilled. But I would have wanted to see Pranab Mukherjee as the Prime Minister so that he could have done a lot more,” Gangopadhay said.

On July 25, Pranab Mukherjee will take oath for the position of the head of the state of the Republic of India. Though Pranab Mukherjee has not yet revealed when he will come to Bengal as president of India, but everyone in his village is eagerly waiting to see him attending the annual Durga Puja at his village home where he has been performing all the puja rituals for years.

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