At parliament goodbye, President Patil cautions against disruptions


New Delhi : Parliamentarians bid farewell to outgoing President Pratibha Patil Monday, two days before she demits office for president-elect Pranab Mukherjee.

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Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar led the ceremony at the historic Central Hall that was also attended by Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and leaders of opposition in the two houses Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, among others.

In her farewell speech to MPs, Patil cautioned them against frequent parliament disruptions at the cost of serious debates and legislations.

“Naturally, there will be arguments in the process of the search for answers, but it should never happen that in the din we lose our way forward. At the end of the day, the worth, value and respect of a legislature is judged by its output in terms of serious debate and legislations,” she said.

It was during Patil’s tenure in 2010 when the entire winter session was washed out during repeated protests by opposition over the 2G scam. Disruptions have become more frequent in recent years.

Patil said “varied political thinking is a part of any legislature and more in a country as large and diverse as India”.

“Though this adds to the vibrancy of our democratic institutions, it also poses a challenge as a multiplicity of expectations are to be met.”

Observing that parliament symbolises a national and is the “repository of the will of the people, Patil said: “The people’s faith in this democratic institution rests upon how effectively the elected representatives perform, and on how attentive they are to issues that impact public welfare.

Meira Kumar lauded the tenure of Patil — the “first woman as our head of state”.

“The five years of Patil’s tenure as first citizen of our great country have seen Rashtrapati Bhavan as a symbol of dignity, grace and most importantly of women’s empowerment.

“She is a role model for countless women of our county who constantly strive to better themselves and those around them.”

Ansari and Meira Kumar presented mementos to Patil on the occasion.

Mukherjee, who was not present at the function, will assume the new office July 25.