Tried to protect Constitution, not just in letter but in spirit as well: Prez

Presidents Of India - Pranab Mukherjee

Members of Parliament on Sunday bid adieu to outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee at a gala ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament as leaders recalled his contribution in upholding democratic values.

Mukherjee, 81, was received by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar at Parliament for the farewell
ceremony.

In her speech, Mahajan said, “This is a solemn occasion for each one of us to express our profound respect to President Mukherjee.”

Ansari lauded Mukherjee for his “unshakable belief in the idea of India” and said he often appealed to the people to re-dedicate themselves to the democratic values of the country.

Mukherjee also stressed upon pluralism and diversity “as the greatest strength” of the country, he said.

IMAGE: President Pranab Mukherjee is garlanded as Parliament bids farewell to him. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan

Ansari also complimented Mukherjee for the manner in which he essayed the role of the president.

“He brought great distinction and dignity to the top office. His views on national and international issues have enhanced the stature of the office,” he said.

IMAGE: Mukherjee is presented a scroll by the speaker on behalf of all the MPs. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan

The outgoing president expressed gratitude to the parliamentarians for the farewell.

“After Independence, we undertook to promote fraternity, dignity and unity of the nation. These ideals became the lodestar for the country,” Mukherjee said.

IMAGE: Mukherjee was also presented a coffee-table book by Ansari and Mahajan. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/

He asked the members to avoid frequent disruptions in Parliament saying it hurt the opposition more.

“During my years in Parliament, I learnt that it stands for debate, discussion and dissent. I also learnt that disruptions hurt the opposition more,” he said.

IMAGE:  Mukherjee gestures after his speech during his farewell ceremony. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/

Mukherjee also said the government should avoid the ordinance route as it should be reserved only for compelling circumstances.

“It should not be taken for matters being considered for discussion (in Parliament),” he added.

IMAGE: Former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Devegowda, BJP veteran LK Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi during the farewell ceremony of the outgoing President. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo

Mukherjee said, “As the President, I have tried to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution, not just in letter, but in spirit as well.”

He concluded by saying, “I leave this magnificent building with a rainbow of memories and a sense of fulfilment and happiness of having served the people of this country as their humble servant.”

IMAGE: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad at the ceremony. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
Source: Rediff

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