Prez Mukherjee gets nostalgic in farewell speech, remembers Indira Gandhi, praises PM Modi
On the last day of his office, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that he had tried to protect and defend the Constitution in letter and in spirit.
As the President, I have tried to protect, preserve, defend the Constitution, not just in letter but in spirit as well, he said.
Recalling his days as a member of Parliament, he said, "If I claim I am the creation of this Parliament, perhaps it will not be treated as immodesty," and added, "Parliament stands for debate, discussion, dissent and disruption hurts Opposition more."
Before ending his speech, the President appealed the political stakeholders to enrich the parliamentary procedure, and aim to reach consensus on major decisions. "Ordinance route should be used in only compelling circumstances," he said, adding that the House should not be surpassed.
Mukherjee thanked parliamentarians for giving him a farewell.
Mukherjee hails Modi
Mukherjee also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the "transformational changes" in India. The recent passage of GST and its launch on July 1 is shining example of cooperative federalism and speaks volumes for maturity of India's Parliament.
I will carry with me fond memories of association with PM Modi and Modi's warm and courteous behavior to me.
Remembers 'mentor' Indira
Mukherjee also recalled his "mentor", former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a "towering personality" in his last speech as the President of India.
"My career was mentored by Indira Gandhi who was a towering personality. She had the courage to call a spade a spade," Mukherjee said as he related an interesting incident that happened in London after the Congress' defeat post Emergency.
"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'," Mukherjee recalled.
After a few seconds of silence, there was laughter, he said.
"Nobody after that asked a question about Emergency and the mediapersons melted away," he said.
Meanwhile, LS Speaker presented a book signed by MPs and her speech to President Mukherjee during farewell ceremony hosted in Parliament's Central Hall.
Before Pranab's address, Vice President Hamid Ansari said that President Pranab Mukherjee brought great distinction, dignity to the high office. His views on national, international issues have enhanced the stature of the top office.
On July 25, President Mukherjee will formally quit from his post and will be succeeded by Ram Nath Govind.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)