Pratibha Patil

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Pratibha Patil
12th President of India
In office
25 July 2007 – 25 July 2012
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Preceded by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Succeeded by Pranab Mukherjee
Governor of Rajasthan
In office
8 November 2004 – 23 June 2007
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje
Preceded by Madan Lal Khurana
Succeeded by Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai
Personal details
Born (1934-12-19) 19 December 1934 (age 80)
Nadgaon, Bombay Presidency, British India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
Political party Indian National Congress
Other political
United Front (1996–2004)
United Progressive Alliance (2004–present)
Spouse(s) Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat
Alma mater Mooljee Jetha College, Jalgaon
Government Law College, Mumbai

Pratibha Devisingh Patil (About this sound pronunciation ) (born 19 December 1934) is an Indian politician who served as the 12th President of India from 2007 to 2012; she was the first woman to hold the office. She was sworn in as president on 25 July 2007, succeeding Abdul Kalam, after defeating her rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. She retired from the office in July 2012. She was succeeded as president by Pranab Mukherjee.[1]

Patil is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and was nominated for the presidency by the governing United Progressive Alliance and Indian Left.

Early life[edit]

Pratibha Devisingh Patil is the daughter of Narayan Rao Patil.[2] She was born on 19 December 1934 in the village of Nadgaon, in the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, India. She was educated initially at RR Vidyalaya, Jalgaon and subsequently was awarded a Master's degree in Political Science and Economics by Mooljee Jetha College, Jalgaon (then under Pune University), and then a Bachelor of Law degree by Government Law College, Mumbai. Patil then began to practice law at the Jalgaon District Court, while also taking interest in social issues such as improving the conditions faced by Indian women.[3]

Patil married Devisingh Ransingh Shekhawat on 7 July 1965. The couple have a son and a daughter.[2]

Political career[edit]

The BBC has described Patil's political career prior to assuming presidential office as "long and largely low-key".[4] In 1962, at the age of 27, she was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the Jalgaon[clarification needed] constituency. Thereafter she won in the Muktainagar (formerly Edlabad) constituency on four consecutive occasions between 1967 and 1985, before becoming a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1985 and 1990. In the 1991 elections for the 10th Lok Sabha, she was elected as a Member of Parliament representing the Amravati constituency.[3] A period of retirement from politics followed later in that decade.[4]

Patil had held various Cabinet portfolios during her period in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and she had also held official positions while in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. In addition, she had been for some years the president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee and also held office as Director of the National Federation of Urban Co-operative Banks and Credit Societies and as a Member of the Governing Council of the National Co-operative Union of India.[2]

On 8 November 2004 she was appointed as the 24thGovernor of Rajasthan[5] and she was the first woman to hold that office,[6] and, according to the BBC, was "a low-profile" incumbent.[4]


President Patil speaking at the Doon School's Platinum Jubilee in October 2010.


Patil was announced as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate on 14 June 2007. She emerged as a compromise candidate after the Left parties would not agree to the nomination of former Home Minister Shivraj Patil or Karan Singh.[6]

Due to the role being largely a figurehead position, the selection of candidate is often arranged by consensus among the various political parties and the candidate runs unopposed.[7] Contrary to the normal pattern of events, Patil faced a challenge in the election. The BBC described the situation as "the latest casualty of the country's increasingly partisan politics and [it] highlights what is widely seen as an acute crisis of leadership". It "degenerated into unseemly mud slinging between the ruling party and the opposition".[8] Her challenger was Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the incumbent vice-president and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran.[9] Shekhawat stood as an independent candidate and was supported by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a group led by the BJP,[9] although the Shiv Sena party, which was a part of NDA, supported her because of her Marathi origin.[10]

Patil won the election held on 19 July 2007. She garnered nearly two-thirds of the votes[11] and took office as India's first woman president on 25 July 2007.[citation needed]


Pratibha Patil's term as the President of India saw various controversies.[12] For example, during her term as president, Patil commuted the death sentences of 35 petitioners to life, a record — among them are those convicted of mass murder, kidnapping, rape and killing of children. The presidential office, however, defended this by saying that the President had granted clemency to the petitioners after due consideration and examining the advice of the Home Ministry.[13][14] Pratibha Patil was dubbed as most merciful President in 30 years since 1981.[15][16][17][18]

Patil was noted for having spent more money on foreign trips, and having taken a greater number of foreign trips, than any prior president.[19] In her foreign trips, her huge extended family travels at taxpayer's expense to tourist spots. 22 trips and $40 million in travel expenses.[20] Patil pardoned over 35 convicts on a death row. These included a few brutal child rapists.[21] She has allegedly misused Indian government's money to build a mansion on a 260,000 sq.ft plot, in a land belonging to war widows. This act (of using government money to build a retirement home post-Presidency) was unprecedented. .[22] She did a self-appraisal and announced 300% Salary hike for herself as well as vice-president. In the Vishram Patil murder case his brother G. N. Patil was linked. G. N. Patil was nominated by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee to be president of the District Congress Committee of Jalgaon in 2004. In 2005, an election by secret ballot was held for the position. He contested the election but lost to his opponent, V. G. Patil, by 13 votes. After his election, he instituted an enquiry into misappropriation of funds collected by whom G. N. Patil for felicitation of Pratibha Patil and for tsunami relief. On 21 September 2005, he was murdered near his house in broad daylight.[23][24]

Completion of term[edit]

The office of president has a five-year term[8] and Patil retired from the role in July 2012.[25]

Business interests[edit]

Along with her husband, she set up Vidya Bharati Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, an educational institute which runs a chain of schools and colleges in Amravati, Jalgaon and Mumbai.[26] She also set up Shram Sadhana Trust, which runs hostels for working women in New Delhi, Mumbai and Pune; and an engineering college in Bambhori village in district Jalgaon named SSBT'S COET publicly named as Bambhori Engineering College.[26] She also founded a cooperative sugar factory known as Sant Muktabai Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana at Muktainagar[citation needed] and an eponymous cooperative bank, Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank, that ceased trading in February 2003.[27]

Positions held[edit]

Patil has held various official offices during her career. These are:[2]

Period Position
1967–72 Deputy Minister, Public Health, Prohibition, Tourism, Housing & Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Maharashtra
1972–74 Cabinet Minister, Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
1974–75 Cabinet Minister, Public Health & Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
1975–76 Cabinet Minister, Prohibition, Rehabilitation and Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra
1977–78 Cabinet Minister, Education, Government of Maharashtra
1979–1980 Leader of the Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly
1982–85 Cabinet Minister, Urban Development and Housing, Government of Maharashtra
1983–85 Cabinet Minister, Civil Supplies and Social Welfare, Government of Maharashtra
1986–1988 Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha
1986–88 Chairman, Committee of Privileges, Rajya Sabha; Member, Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha
1991–1996 Chairman, House Committee, Lok Sabha
8 November 2004 – 23 June 2007 Governor of Rajasthan
25 July 2007 – 25 July 2012 President of India


  1. ^ Pranab Mukherjee sworn-in as 13th President of India. (25 July 2012); Skard, Torild (2014) "Pratibha Patil" in Women of power - half a century of female presidents and prime ministers worldwide, Bristol: Policy Press, ISBN 978-1-44731-578-0, pp. 147-50
  2. ^ a b c d "Ex Governor of Rajasthan". Rajathan Legislative Assembly Secretariate. Archived from the original on 2013-08-04. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile: President of India". NIC / President's Secretariat. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Profile: Pratibha Patil". BBC. 21 July 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Former Governors of Rajasthan". Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Secretariat. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Prez polls: Sonia announces Pratibha Patil's name". NDTV. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Pradhan, Bibhudatta (19 July 2007). "Patil Poised to Become India's First Female President". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Biswas, Soutik (13 July 2007). "India's muckraking presidential poll". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Indian MPs vote for new president". BBC. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Menon, Meena (26 June 2007). "Shiv Sena backs Pratibha Patil". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "First female president for India". BBC. 21 July 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. ^ President Pratibha Patil's brush with controversy – India News – IBN Live. (12 April 2012). Retrieved on 14 April 2013.
  13. ^ "President defends mercy spree to death row convicts". The Times of India. 26 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "President Pratibha Patil goes on mercy overdrive". The Times of India. 22 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Pratibha Patil most merciful President in 30 years". 
  16. ^ "'Angel of mercy' Pratibha Patil commutes 30 death row sentences". 
  17. ^ "Pratibha Patil commuted death sentence of 35 people". 
  18. ^ "Who Has She Pardoned?". 
  19. ^ "President Patil’s foreign trips cost Rs 205 crore". The Indian Express. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Pratibha Patil took up to 11 relatives on 18 trips in a year". 
  21. ^ "President Pratibha Patil goes on mercy overdrive". 
  22. ^ "Pratibha’s Pune home a break from tradition". 
  23. ^ "Congman’s wife drags Pratibha name into allegations, NDA distances itself". 
  24. ^ "We don’t know about Rajni Patil, says NDA". 
  25. ^ Kshirsagar, Alka (25 June 2012). "Pratibha Patil gets retirement home in Pune". Business Line (The Hindu). Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Pratibha Patil's Resume. The Times of India. 19 July 2007.
  27. ^ "Report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India, 2005–06: Appendix Table IV.3: Urban Co-operative Banks Under Liquidation" (PDF). Reserve Bank of India. p. 328 (5). Retrieved 5 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Sudam Deshmukh
Member for Amravati
Succeeded by
Anant Gudhe
Political offices
Preceded by
Madan Lal Khurana
Governor of Rajasthan
Succeeded by
Akhlaqur Rahman Kidwai
Preceded by
Abdul Kalam
President of India
Succeeded by
Pranab Mukherjee