Kovind says political parties must put "nation first", differences can be resolved through dialogue
New Delhi, July 23, 2022
Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind today said political parties must rise above partisan approaches and put the "nation first" and pointed out that differences could be resolved peacefully and harmoniously through dialogue.
"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’," he said at a farewell function held for him in the Central Hall of Parliament.
"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," he said.
"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," he said.
Looking back on his career in pubic service and the efforts of the governments, Kovind said it must be accepted that, although much had been achieved, so much more remained to be done to raise the living standards of the marginalised.
Recalling how he grew up in a mud house, he said that today far fewer children have to live in thatchedhouses with leaking roofs.
"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.
"Indeed, as the basic necessities are taken care of, aspirations are changing too," he said, adding that "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. What is particularly satisfying for me to note is the sense of empowerment among women. This empowerment is more visible in the younger generation. In most of the convocations that I have attended, I have observed that girls have been outshining boys. I am confident that the ‘National Education Policy 2020’ will accelerate the momentum of this change. I believe that women empowerment will strengthen our society in the years to come. The march towards equality in the domain of gender is matched by similar progress in other domains," he said.
The President said that during his term he had tried to discharge his duties to the best of his abiity.
"Whether one is the President or an MP, we are all fellow travellers on this path which is taking our country to greater heights. This path was marked out by the wise men and women who founded the Republic and wrote its Constitution. While they wrote the Constitution, the fact remains that it was adopted and enacted by ‘We the People,’ that is, all the people of India. They are the ones who have continued to guide the journey of the Republic – through their representatives, all you honourable Members of Parliament. That is why the Parliament is also called ‘The Temple of Democracy’," he said.
"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," he said.'
Kovind extended greetings and best wishes to his successor Droupadi Murmu, who will be sworn in as the 15th President of India on July 25.
"Her election to the highest constitutional post is going to strengthen the cause of women empowerment and infuse ambition among the struggling segments of society. I am sure that her experience, wisdom and personal ideals will inspire and guide the entire nation," he said.
"During this period, I also got the opportunity of working with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and members of his Council of Ministers. I am thankful to all of them for the special regard they have given me. I would like to thank Vice-President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu for his unstinted cooperation. He, as Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, and Shri Om Birla as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, also deserve congratulations and appreciation for the way they have conducted proceedings of Parliament and continued its great traditions," he said.