Former India president Pranab Mukherjee, a veteran powerbroker once described in leaked US diplomatic cables as “the ultimate Congress Party fixer”, died Monday at the age of 84, his family said. He died of multiple organ failure after being admitted to hospital weeks ago, having also contracted coronavirus. The Bengal-origin politician was a protege of former premier Indira Gandhi and was a member of her cabinet when she suspended democratic rights in the infamous “Emergency” of 1975-77. Mukherjee’s star waned after Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 when he was a rival to her son and heir Rajiv Gandhi for leadership of the Congress party. He briefly broke away from Congress, but after Rajiv Gandhi was killed in 1991 his political fortunes revived. He became Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s right-hand-man during his decade in power from 2004-14, serving as defence, foreign and finance minister, winning a cross-party reputation as a skilled negotiator.