New Delhi: In a fitting culmination to a four-decade long distinguished career, ‘Chankya’ of Indian politics Pranab Mukherjee took over as the 13th President of the country on Wednesday.
Mukherjee was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia in the Central Hall of Parliament at 11.30 am.
The oath 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 the Republic of India.”
After taking oath, Mukherjee exchanged chairs with President Patil – the first woman Head of State of the country.
President Mukherjee was then given a 21-gun salute.
Addressing the gathering in the Central Hall, Mukherjee said he was deeply moved by the high honour.
“I will protect and defend our Constitution not just in letter but also in spirit,” he said.
“I will stay impartial as President,” Mukherjee assured everyone.
Recalling the great famine of Bengal, the new President said the poorest must feel they are part of India.
He said education has the capability to take India to a golden era.
He also stressed on focussing on agriculture in order to progress.
“Our job is to work; results will automatically come,” Mukherjee said.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Cabinet ministers and other dignitaries. Mukherkee’s family along with other relatives from West Bengal were also present in full strength to witness Pranab occupy the highest constitutional chair of the country.
The three Service Chiefs were also present to witness the 76-year old veteran of many a political battle taking over as the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces.
Mukherjee then travelled to his new residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan, from Parliament along with Pratibha Patil, now former President.
At Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Mukherjee was given an inter-services guard of honour, Hazaar Salam.