The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind attended the farewell function in the Central Hall of Parliament today (July 23, 2022).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that he remains eternally grateful to the people of India and for giving him an opportunity to serve the country as President. What the Almighty had wanted him to accomplish could not have been accomplished without the support from all the elected representatives. He said that during his term, he had frequently interacted with them on various platforms and he had also met numerous delegations of parliamentarians and of people from other domains. During this period, he also got the opportunity of working with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and members of his Council of Ministers. He thanked all of them for the special regard they have given him. He also thanked Vice-President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu and Speaker Lok Sabha Shri Om Birla for the way they have conducted proceedings of Parliament and continued its great traditions.
The President said that Article 79 of our Constitution provides for a Parliament consisting of the President and the two houses. In keeping with this constitutional provision and adding his sentiment to it, he looks at the President as an integral part of the Parliamentary family. As with any family, there are bound to be differences within this Parliamentary family too; there would be diverging views about how to proceed further. But we remain a family, and the interest of the nation remains our top priority. Political processes operate through the mechanism of party organisations, but the parties must rise above a partisan approach and consider what is good, what is essential for the common man and woman, with the spirit of ‘nation first’.
The President said that when we consider the whole nation as a family, we also understand that differences are bound to crop up once in a while. Such differences can be resolved peacefully and harmoniously through dialogue. Citizens and political parties have many constitutional avenues open to them, including protests. After all, the Father of our Nation employed the weapon of Satyagraha for that purpose. But he was equally concerned about the other side. Citizens have a right to protest to press for their demands, but it should always be in the peaceful Gandhian mould.
The President said that looking back on his career in public service, and the efforts of the governments, we must accept that, although much has been achieved yet so much more remains to be done to raise the living standards of the marginalised. The country has been, slowly but surely, realising the dreams of Dr. Ambedkar. The President said that he grew up in a mud house, but far fewer children have to live in thatched houses with leaking roofs now. More and more of the poor people have been shifting to pucca houses, partly with the direct support from the government. Our sisters and daughters walking miles to fetch drinking water is becoming a thing of the past, because it is our endeavour that every house gets water from the tap. We have also installed toilets in every house, which are laying the foundation for building a clean and healthy India. Memories of lighting up lanterns and diyas after sunset are also fading as almost all villages have finally been provided electricity connections.
The President said that as the basic necessities are taken care of, aspirations are changing too. The dreams of average Indians have got wings now. This has been made possible by good governance, which by definition is without any kind of discrimination. This all-round progress is in tune with what Babasaheb Ambedkar had visualised.