President Pranab Mukherjee will be addressing the nation on Monday on the eve of demitting office. The address will broadcast at 07:30 pm on All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in English followed by a Hindi version. As the president bid farewell to Parliament on Sunday, he offered some words of advice, both for the government and the Opposition. Members of both Houses (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) assembled at the Central Hall to bid farewell to the outgoing president. Overwhelmed with the proceedings, the president thanked Parliament for ‘creating’ him and also expressed his warm relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appreciating him for bringing various “transformational changes.”
Talking about his tenure in the Parliament, the president had said, “If I claim I am the creation of this Parliament, perhaps it will not be treated as immodesty. The Parliament gave a direction to my political vision as I got to learn a lot from the serious discussions held in both Houses of the Parliament. For the last 37 years, I have been a part of five Rajya Sabhas, four times from Bengal and once from Gujarat. It’s a tinge of sadness and a rainbow of memories that I will be leaving this magnificent building today.” Speaking further, Mukherjee said he attended the first session of the Parliament on July 22, 1969.
Speaking on his responsibilities as the President of the nation, Mukherjee said, “As the President, I have tried to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution, not just in letter but in spirit as well.”
The President in his farewell speech referred former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as his “mentor”. Mukherjee while sharing an incident that happened in London after the Congress’ defeat post Emergency, said, “My career was mentored by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who was a towering personality. She had the courage to call a spade a spade. After the Congress’ and her own defeat post Emergency, she went to London in 1978. A battery of mediapersons, in a fairly aggressive mood were waiting to ask questions. The first question was: ‘What had been your gains from Emergency?’. Looking directly into the eyes of mediapersons, in a level voice she replied: ‘In those 21 months we comprehensively managed to alienate all sections of people’.”
The president also lauded the government for launching the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and termed it as a “shining example of cooperative federalism”. He said,”The recent passage of the GST and its launch on July 1 is a shining example of cooperative federalism and speaks volumes of the maturity of India’s Parliament.”
Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure officially ended on Sunday and he will be replaced by Ram Nath Kovind who won the presidential elections after a convincing victory over his opponent Meira Kumar.