New Delhi: The Indian Constitution represents the “hopes and aspirations of a billion people”, President Pranab Mukherjee said at the farewell ceremony on Sunday, underscoring the need to uphold it to an audience of lawmakers who had gathered in Parliament’s central hall to bid him farewell.
“Legislation must be preceded by scrutiny and adequate discussion… if we fail to do this, it breaches the trust of the country,” said the President, who quits the highest office of the country on July 25. His successor Ram Nath Kovind will formally take over the post the same day.
In his address, President Mukherjee also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the ceremony, for the “transformational changes” in India.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari said President Mukherjee brought “great distinction and dignity to the high office”. The President’s views on national and international issues have “enhanced the stature of the top office,” said the Vice-President, who is also the Chairman of the upper house, Rajya Sabha.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan it was a “solemn occasion for all members to express their profound respect”.
Over the last few days, the 82-year-old President had a grueling schedule, meeting ministers, lawmakers and various political leaders. He also attended separate farewell dinners by PM Modi and the chiefs of the armed forces. On Monday, he will host a dinner for the council of ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.