New Delhi: On the last day of his office, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday thanked all the Parliamentarians for their support during his tenure and for giving him a warm farewell. In his final speech at Parliament, Mukherjee said, “If I claim I am the creation of this Parliament, perhaps it will not be treated as immodesty”. Talking about the recent roll-out of Goods and services Tax, Mukherjee said the passage of GST speaks volume about the maturity of the Parliament. 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,” he said.
He, however, expressed regret over the repeated adjournments of houses due to protests and walk outs. “It is unfortunate that parliamentary time devoted to legislations has been declining, said Mukherjee.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who was present on the occasion, said, “it is a solemn occasion for all members to express their profound respect to Mukherjee.” Showering praise on Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said his views on national, international issues have enhanced the stature of the top office.
“As President, I’ve tried to protect, preserve, defend the Constitution, not just in letter but in spirit as well. Ordinance route should only be adopted in compelling circumstances”, remarked President Mukherjee.
Mukherjee also remembered his “mentor”, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a “towering personality”. “My career was mentored by Mrs 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.
“Indian Constitution not merely a legal document for administration but the Magna Carta of socio-economic transformation. It represents the hopes and aspirations of the billion plus Indians”, the Preseident was quoted as saying.
He also said, “Recent passage of GST & its launch on 1st July is a shining example of co-operative federalism but it is unfortunate that the parliamentary time devoted to legislation has been declining. With the heightened complexity of administration, legislation must be preceded by scrutiny and adequate discussion.”
“It will be with a tinge of sadness and a rainbow of memories that I will be leaving this magnificent building today. I leave with a sense of fulfilment & happiness of having served the people of this country – as their humble servant”, said President Mukherjee while concluding his farewell speech.