Pratibha Patil was the First Women President Of India (2007-12). She was born December 19, 1934, in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India. A graduate of Moolji Jaitha College, Jalgaon, Patil went on to earn a law degree from Government Law College, Mumbai (Bombay).
Since she had long been associated with the Gandhi family, Patil became Sonia Gandhi’s favorite. In 2007, she was nominated as a candidate for the largely ceremonial role of president. Patil’s status as a relative unknown gave her an edge over previous leaders in Congress’s coalition government, which had struck her down in previous elections. She assumed office in July 2007 and was succeeded five years later by former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
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After joining the Congress Party in 1962, she entered politics as a member of Maharashtra’s legislative assembly. At that time, she held the portfolio for public health and social welfare, and she was known for being loyal to her party. She served as deputy chairman of India’s upper house of parliament (the Rajya Sabha) from 1986 to 1988. As a member of the lower house, Patil represented Amravati in the Lok Sabha (lower house) after leaving the upper house in 1990. Upon completing her five-year term, she temporarily retired from political life, but she returned to public service in 2004 when she was named governor of Rajasthan, a state in the northwest of India. And in year 2007, she was elected as the First Women President Of India.
Despite Patil’s relatively quiet presidency, she wasn’t without controversy, especially regarding the way she utilized government funds. A number of her overseas trips were criticized, often accompanied by relatives. In addition, she encountered opposition when she acquired land in Pune, Maharashtra, to build her retirement home. A portion of the land belonged to Indian military personnel and was intended for widows of those who had served in the military. The project was abandoned by Patil and he later moved into a renovated house in Pune. Furthermore, she received criticism for commuting the death penalty for a large number of violent inmates.