On Monday, Pranab Mukherjee will address India on the eve of demitting office. The outgoing president's address will be broadcast from 7.30 pm on the national network of All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in English followed by Hindi versions.
Mukherjee's farewell ceremony was held on Sunday and was attended by all MPs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also in attendance. The programme began at 5.30 pm. It was addressed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan, and vice-president and chairman of Rajya Sabha Hamid Ansari.
Mukherjee remembered the time he started his political journey:
When I first entered the portals of this hallowed institution 48 years ago, I was only 34 years old. In July 1969, I came to this Parliament as a member of Rajya Sabha representing one of the six seats from the State of West Bengal. My election to Rajya Sabha took place on 4th July and the first session I attended began on July 22nd, 1969.
Further, he remembered his mentor Indira Gandhi:
My career as a Parliamentarian was no doubt mentored by Shrimati Indira Gandhi. Her steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive actions made her a towering personality. She never hesitated to call a spade a spade.
Eighty one-year-old Mukherjee was received by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar at Parliament for the farewell ceremony.
Ansari lauded Mukherjee for his "unshakable belief in the idea of India" and said he often appealed to the people to re-dedicate themselves to the democratic values of the country. "He brought great distinction and dignity to the top office. His views on national and international issues have enhanced the stature of the office," Ansari said.
File image of President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI
During the ceremony, Mukherjee was gifted a book that contained the signatures of Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Thambidurai, and deputy chair of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a farewell dinner for the president. Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was given a farewell by the Chiefs of Staff Committee on Friday.
In a simple function held at the Manekshaw Centre, the president interacted with senior military officers.
In his address at the function, Mukherjee extended his best wishes to all members of the armed forces and their families. Moreover, he paid tributes to the martyrs and their families for their sacrifices for the country.
The banquet was attended by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, along with the service chiefs and other senior officers.