NEW DELHI: Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday asked parties to rise above partisan politics in the interest of the nation and work for welfare of people.
In his farewell address to parliamentarians at the Central Hall of the Parliament, Kovind emphasised the value of peace and harmony, and said people have a right to oppose and create pressure to pursue their goals, but their methods must be Gandhian.
“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,” Kovind said, and added, “Political processes operate through the mechanism of party organisations, but the parties must rise above a partisan approach and consider what is good, essential for the common man and woman, with the spirit of nation first.”
The President said that differences are bound to crop up once in a while but 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 outgoing president said.
His comments assume significance at a time when parliamentary proceedings have been frequently disrupted due to the opposition’s protests over a number of issues.
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. “We must accept that although much has been achieved, 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,” Kovind said.
The President said 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. ,” he added.
President-elect Droupadi Murmu will take oath as the 15th President of India on Monday.