President Ram Nath Kovind, who will demit office on Monday, called for protests to always be conducted in the “Gandhian mould” and urged political parties to rise above partisan politics.
Delivering his farewell address to members from both Houses of Parliament, Kovind said, “Citizens and political parties have many constitutional avenues open to them, including protests. After all, the father of our nation employed the weapon of satyagraha for that purpose. But he was equally concerned about the other side. Citizens have a right to protest and to press for their demands, but it should always be in the peaceful Gandhian mould.”
Comparing the parliamentary system to a big family with the President being an integral part of it, Kovind said, “As with any family, there are bound to be differences within this parliamentary family, too. There would be diverging views about how to proceed further. But we remain a family, and the interest of the nation remains our top priority. Political processes operate through the mechanism of party organisations, but the parties must rise above a partisan approach and consider what is good, what is essential for the common man and woman, with the spirit of ‘nation first’.”
Both Houses of Parliament have witnessed uproarious scenes and repeated adjournments during the current Monsoon session.
In the audience during Kovind’s farewell speech at the Central Hall of Parliament were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, as well as ministers and several other MPs. Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, was also present. However, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge was absent as he had a pre-scheduled programme and was not in Delhi. Neither Congres president Sonia Gandhi nor the party’s Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi were present at the event.
Kovind congratulated his successor, President-elect Droupadi Murmu, and said the country would benefit from her guidance. Murmu will be sworn in as President on Monday.
Kovind is expected to address the nation at 7 pm on Sunday.