3.00pm: Kolkata erupted with joy today as Pranab Mukherjee was sworn in as the country’s new president, the first Bengali to occupy the high office. People smeared green gulalon each other and danced to celebrate the historic moment.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee invited President Pranab to visit the state. Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, a key constituent of the UPA, had initially opposed Mukherjee’s candidature in the Presidential election. The party decided to back Mukherjee only two days ahead of the 19 July Presidential election.
1.30pm: President Pranab Mukherjee is escorting former President Pratibha Patil to her temporary accommodation on Tughlak Lane where she will stay till her post-retirement home in Pune is ready.
1.20 pm: Outgoing President Pratibha Patil inspects her final guard of honour. This is significant of her moving out of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Patil bids farewell as the 12th president of India, and hands over the charge to the new President Pranab Mukherjee.
1.15 pm: President Pranab Mukherjee receives the inter-services guard of honour in the forecourt of the Presidential palace.
Mukherjee rides the Presidential buggy along with former President Pratibha Patil, reaches Rashtrapati Bhavan.
1.08 pm: As Pranab Mukherjee was sworn in as the 13th President, a band of his friends in a corner of Bengal today recalled with nostalgia the days spent with him.
“Our friendship never waned though Pranabda quit college in 1968 to join active politics as a member of Bangla Congress,” said Mahadev Sinha, Principal of Bidyanagar College in South 24 Parganas district where Mukherjee had begun his career as a lecturer in political science and history on 8 August, 1963.
“Despite his high rank and stature he has remained the simple man that he was. He shares ‘telebhaja’ (deep fried vegetables), which is among his favourite food, and muri (puffed rice) with us,” Sinha said recalling that Mukherjee used to have ‘addas’ with them during his visits to Kolkata.
12.04 pm: The 13th President of India Pranab Mukherjee arrives in Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Pranab Mukherjee takes the guard of honour at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, thus making him the supreme commander of armed forces.
11.50 am: Pranab Mukherjee leaves the Parliament as the President of India. He is now heading to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
11: 40 am: After being sworn in, Pranab Mukherjee addresses his first speech as the President of India. He vows to protect and preserve the Constitution both in words and spirit.
“Equality of all, gender of equity but most of all, I will bring economic equity as the President of India,” Mukherjee says. “For our development to be real, the poorest of our land must feel they are part of the narrative of rising India.”
Mukherjee recalls his initial days in politics “as a boy who came from Bengal and landed in the sundries of Delhi.”
Mukherjee says India is still fighting a war and in the midst of the 4th World War- the war against terrorism. He says he is proud of the valor, conviction and steely determination of the armed forces and brave police forces.
He talks about removing corruption from the country as it “is an evil that can suppress the nations mood and hinder progress” and promises to work towards erasing poverty. He adds, “progress cannot be hampered by greed of a future.”
Mukherjee ends his speech by saying, ” Ours is to work, the results will take care of itself. ”
11.30 am: Pranab Mukherjee takes oath as the 13th President of India.
11.25 am: Pranab Mukherjee’s swearing in ceremony begins. Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia administering the oath to Mukherjee.
11.15 am: Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee reach Parliament. Along with them is Chief justice of India SH Kapadia, who will administer the oath to Mukherjee.
11.05 am: President elect Pranab Mukherjee along with Pratibha Patil in a ceremonial procession are on their way to the Parliament now.
Former President Pratibha Patil takes her last guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
10.30 am: After paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi and other top leaders at their memorials in Rajghat, Pranab Mukherjee reaches Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will take oath as the 13th President of India here.
Reports say West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has had a hot and cold relationship with Mukherjee over the years and even opposed his candidature for the top post almost till the end before finally backing him in the election, is en-route to the parliament for Pranab Mukherjee’s oath taking ceremony.
Travelling in a Mercedes Benz S 600, Mukherjee first visited Rajghat to pay homage to the Father of the Nation. After paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi, he paid respect to Rajiv Gandhi at Veer Bhumi. Dressed in a black sherwani with white churidar, Mukherjee also paid homage to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her memorial Shakti Sthal. Later he went to the memorial of Lal Bahadur Shastri.
9.57am: Pranab reaches Shanti Van. After paying his respects there, he will soon be heading to the Parliament to be sworn in as the 13th president of India.
9.38am: Pranab Mukherhjee is now at Veer Bhoomi in Rajghat where he is paying his respects. He will then visit Shakti Sthal, Shantivan and Vijay Ghat before moving to Rashtrapati Bhawan. The President elect is accompanied by Urban development Minister Kamal Nath.
9.20 am: Pranab Mukherjee has reached Rajghat. His swearing-in ceremony will take place at 11:30 am today. The grand ceremony will continue for about 4-5 hours.
Mukherjee will pay his respects at Rajghat, Veer Bhoomi, Shakti Sthal, Shantivan and Vijay Ghat. He will then move to Rashtrapati Bhawan. Mukherjee’s family will be present at the event.
Pranab Mukherjee will be sworn in as the country’s 13th President today at a special ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament.
Chief justice of India SH Kapadia will administer the oath to Mukherjee at 11.30am in the presence of vice president Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers, governors, chief ministers and a host of dignitaries, a home ministry communique said.
The function will begin with the arrival of President Pratibha Patil and President-elect Mukherjee in a ceremonial procession from the Rashtrapati Bhawan to the Parliament Building. They will be received by Kapadia, Ansari and Kumar and escorted to the Central Hall.
After Mukherjee takes over, he will be given a 21-gun salute, address the gathering and then leave for the Rashtrapati Bhawan with Patil. Mukherjee will be given an inter-services guard of honour in the forecourt of the Presidential palace.
He will then escort Patil to her temporary accommodation on Tughlak Lane where she will stay till her post-retirement home in Pune is ready.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will activate its air defence (AD) shield in and around the capital to thwart any threat to the swearing-in ceremony of the supreme commander of the armed forces.
Such security cover is provided during major events including the Independence Day and Republic Day and was also in place during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Apart from the number of air defence weapons such as the Pechora and OSA-AK surface-to-air missile squadrons deployed in the NCR, fighter jets like Sukhoi-30MKIs and MiG-21 ‘Bisons’ will now be put on a stand-by at nearby airbases.
To further secure the skies over the capital, the airspace may also be closed for the duration of the swearing-in ceremony.
Commuter services at three Delhi Metro stations, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Khan Market, will be suspended for two hours on Wednesday due to security restrictions in view of the swearing-in ceremony of Mukherjee.
With inputs from Agencies