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Profile: UPA prez nominee Pratibha Patil
Tabrez Khan in Mumbai
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June 14, 2007 19:08 IST
Last Updated: June 14, 2007 20:45 IST

Nearly three years ago, Pratibha Patil became the first woman governor of Rajasthan and, after her selection as United Progressive Alliance nominee for the post of President, she could break the male dominance at the Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images].

A qualified lawyer from Maharashtra, 72-year-old Patil has a wealth of experience as a politician and administrator having held key positions in Maharashtra unit of Congress, ministerial portfolios before occupying the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson's post for about two years from November 1986.

Nearly eight years after her tenure as Lok Sabha member had ended in 1996, Patil, a staunch of Nehru-Gandhi family and a non-controversial personality, had gone into a virtual political wilderness before she was brought in as Rajasthan governor in November 2004.

Born on December 19, 1934, in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, Patil practised as a lawyer in Jalgaon before joining politics.

From a sleepy town in northern Maharashtra to India's presidential nominee Patil has come a long way.

Born on December 19, 1934, in Jalgaon in northern Maharashtra, 'Pratibhatai' as she is fondly known completed her education at the city's Mooljee Jaitha College.

She did her MA and also completed her LLB. She also excelled at sports and was particularly good at table tennis winning many tournaments at the district, state and national levels.

Her father was a police prosecutor and she came from a relatively humble if not too unillustrious a family. There were certainly no political connections.

She was a member of Maharashtra Assembly from 1962 to 1985 during which she was a minister holding portfolios like urban development and housing education, tourism, parliamentary affairs, public health and social welfare, cultural affairs, working her way up from the rank of deputy minister to Cabinet as also in Congress hierarchy.

Patil also has the experience of being a leader of the opposition when Sharad Pawar [Images], as the head of Purogami Lok Dal, became Maharashtra chief minister for the first time in July 1979.

Patil's stint in Parliament began in 1985 when she was elected to Rajya Sabha and became its deputy chairperson a little over a year later, a post in which she remained from November 18, 1986, to November 5 1988. Between 1986 and 1988, she had also headed the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges.

She was Maharashtra Congress chief from 1988 to 1990 before being elected to Lok Sabha from Amravati in 1991.

Patil, who never lost an election, had gone into virtual political hibernation at the end of her tenure in Lok Sabha and her only appearance in the political scene of Maharashtra was taking part in the party's campaign in elections.

It was in November 2004 that the Congress leadership recalled her to become the governor of Rajasthan.

Married to Devisingh Ramsingh Shekhawat, an educationist by profession whose family had migrated from Shekhawati region of Rajasthan to Jalgaon a few generations back, Patil has one daughter Jyoti Rathore and a son Rajendra Singh.

Shekhawat had been a mayor of Amravati. A social worker by profession, Patil is associated with various cultural, educational and social welfare organisations.

Additional Reportage: PTI

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