Pranab Mukherjee sworn in as 13th President of India
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee arrived at home at Rashtrapati Bhavan around noon today, shortly after he took oath of office as India’s 13th President. He was escorted to the spectacular presidential palace by the horse-borne President’s Bodyguard. A little later he gave his predecessor, Pratibha Patil, a ceremonial send off.
Ms Patil’s new address in the Capital, a temporary one till she moves to Pune, is 2, Tughlak Road. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and all ministers were present to bid her farewell.
Mr Mukherjee took oath at exactly 11.38 am in the Central Hall of Parliament, familiar ground for him as an MP for over 40 years. He said, “I, Pranab Mukherjee, do swear in the name of God that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Republic of India, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law, and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India.”
He then swapped seats with Ms Patil and was given a 21-gun salute. He signed a register and rose to speak at a rostrum adorned with purple orchids. Mr Mukherjee made a powerful speech, speaking about the problems of hunger and global terrorism; he spoke about democracy and secularism; he spoke about his role as the protector of the Constitution, above all politics. The President spoke in English and ended with Jai Hind. Vice President Hamid Ansari read out a Hindi translation of the beginning and end of the President’s speech.
Mr Mukherjee, 76, has worn a black sherwani with white churidar today, not the usual suits or dhoti that he prefers. His close aide Pradyut Guha said he spent a quiet Wednesday morning with his family at 13 Talkatora Road, his Delhi home for many years and then left in a Mercedes S 600 sent by the government. He visited Rajghat, then Rashtrapati Bhavan and then finally made his way in a Presidential convoy to Parliament House alongwith Ms Patil.
Before leaving home this morning, Mr Mukherjee took the blessings of Lord Tirupati – he had visitors who brought him prasad from the Andhra Pradesh temple. Mr Guha says he expects him to be a “people’s President.”
Short URL: http://akashradio.com/?p=41