New Delhi, July 23: “Bear with my nostalgia,” President Pranab Mukherjee said as he began his farewell address before the joint session of Parliament. The President recalled before the gathering that he was introduced to the Parliament 48 years ago, when he was elected as the member of Rajya Sabha.
“48 years ago, it was 22nd July, 1969, when I was sent to the Rajya Sabha. Since then, my career has been instructive and educative,” the President said. “If I claim I am the creation of this Parliament, perhaps it will not be treated as immodesty,” he further remarked.
Pranab Mukherjee went on the acknowledge the leadership of political players dominant during his prime political career. “I was enriched in the company of Narsimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I am also thankful for the mature advices of (Lal Krishna) Advani ji,” the outgoing president remarked, further adding, “I learned some of the most crucial lessons under the leadership of Indira Gandhi.” ALSO READ: 10 Rajaji to 10 Akbar: Tale of two presidents, two bungalows
President Mukherjee lauded the maturity shown by the Legislature over the past 50 years, resorting to consensus at need of the hour. “The passage of GST represents the maturity of the Indian Parliament… In the future to come, Parliament should serve in the same manner to strengthen our democracy,” he said.
However, the President also expressed his disapproval to the frequent disruptions of the House, which leads to delay in passage of several key legislations. “It is unfortunate that parliamentary time devoted to legislations has been declining… Parliament stands for democracy, debate and discussion. Disruption hurts the interests of everyone, including the Opposition,” he added.
Before ending his speech, the President appealed the political stakeholders to enrich the parliamentary procedure by arriving at consensus on major decisions. “Ordinance route should be used in only compelling circumstances,” he said, adding that the House should not be surpassed.
Before Pranab’s address, Vice President Dr Hamid Ansari recalled him as a mentor to the Indian political establishment. “He shaped policies for progressive growth. The President always believed in 3 Ds – democracy, debate and discussion – but warned us against the 4th D – Disruption,” Ansari said.
Vice President further added that in “such pressing times”, it is important to keep the message of the President in mind. “I quote – Our traditional values compel us to be argumentative Indians. But there should be no room for the intolerant Indian.”
Ansari also highlighted the President’s message in the dinner meet with Governors and Lieutenant Governors in the past week. “The President was clear in his message that the constitutional design does not permit the space for two executives. The Governors and Lt Governors can only advised the government on policy matters,” he said.
President Mukherjee would demit the Office on Monday, concluding his 5-year tenure. He would be replaced by Ram Nath Kovind, who won the presidential poll against Opposition’s Meira Kumar on Thursday.