Kolkata: President Pranab Mukherjee today concluded his maiden four-day visit to West Bengal after assuming the top constitutional post, saying he was overwhelmed by the “very warm” reception accorded to him by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the people of the state.
The chief minister and the people “gave me a very warm reception”, Mukherjee said when asked how he felt visiting his home state after assuming the highest office on 25 July.
Apart from official functions and the one by the state government to felicitate him, Mukherjee visited his South Kolkata residence and spent a few hours, savouring his favourite dishes at lunch and meeting relatives and friends who said they “miss him”.
His close ones were also happy that, despite protocol restrictions and busy schedule, he could make it to his own flat in a residential apartment in Dhakuria. They said he wished to visit his residence during Durga Puja next month.
The president visited another place close to his heart — the historic Netaji Bhavan from where Subhash Chandra Bose fled British India and went to the then USSR, Germany and Japan before taking charge of the Indian National Army. Bose later formed the provisional Government of Azad Hind in exile.
During his visit, Mukherjee attended the 57th convocation of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur where he stressed on revitalisation of efforts to inculcate scientific temperament among students.
Voicing dismay over Indian educational institutions not finding a place among the world’s top universities, he spoke of Vision 2020, through which IITs and other Indian educational bodies would strive to achieve a place among the top-class institutions the world over.
At a felicitation programme by corporate bodies, Mukherjee asked the industry not to be despondent despite the difficult economic situation and make collective efforts to overcome the problems.