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Benefited from PM Modi’s advice: Pranab Mukherjee

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee spoke out on Sunday against using “the ordinance route for any monetary matter“ as he cautioned against excessive use of “instrument of ordinances, which is an extraordinary power vested with the executive”.
The comments will be seen in the context of decisions like the ordinance to which he gave assent on December 29, 2016, criminalising retention of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes beyond December 31, 2016. This was intended to complete the process of demonetisation.

As members of Parliament bid him adieu at a farewell ceremony in the Central Hall, Mukherjee said, “I am firm in the opinion that the ordinance route should be used only in compelling circumstances and there should be no recourse to ordinances on monetary matters. If a matter is deemed urgent, the committee concerned should be made aware of the situation and be mandated to present its report within a stipulated time.“ Outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee was all praise for PM Narendra Modi and said he had “greatly benefited“ from the advice and cooperation extended by Modi at “every step“. “With passion and energy , he (Modi) is driving transformational changes in the country . I will carry with me fond memories of our association and his warm and courteous behaviour,“ he said.

Talking about his 37 years as a member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Mukherjee said, “My years in Parliament were enriched by the wisdom of P V Narasimha Rao, oration of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, calming presence of Manmohan Singh, mature advice of L K Advani and passionate support of Sonia Gandhi for social legislations.“ Mentioning that India was a land of “130 crore people speaking 122 languages under one Constitution, one flag and one administrative system“, Mukherjee stressed on pluralism and diversity “as the greatest strength“ of the country.

He asked members to avoid frequent disruptions in Parliament, saying it hurt the opposition more. “During my years in Parliament, I learnt that it stands for debate, discussion and dissent. I also learnt that disruptions hurt the opposition more,“ the President said.

The function was attended by Vice-President Hamid Ansari, PM Narendra Modi, former PMs Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers and MPs.

Mukherjee, who will demit office on Tuesday , said he was “mentored“ by Indira Gandhi whose “steely determination, clarity of thought and decisive action made her a towering personality“. He said she never hesitated to call a spade a spade.

He recalled a visit to London with Indira after the Emergency , where journalists asked her what she had gained from the move. “In those 21 months, we comprehensively managed to alienate all sections of Indian people,“ Indira replied.

“I learnt an early lesson of acknowledging my mistakes and rectifying them. Self-correction in such situations is a better option than self-justification,“ Mukherjee added.

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