Prez Pranab moved by Mamata’s gesture | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Prez Pranab moved by Mamata’s gesture

India will not be able to realise full potential, if the federal structure of the Constitution is not protected, said President Pranab Mukherjee at Netaji Indoor Stadium during his first visit to Bengal after he entered Raisina Hill in July this year.

kolkata Updated: Sep 15, 2012 14:39 IST
HT Correspondent

India will not be able to realise full potential, if the federal structure of the Constitution is not protected, said President Pranab Mukherjee at Netaji Indoor Stadium during his first visit to Bengal after he entered Raisina Hill in July this year.

Speaking at the civic reception organised by chief minister Mamata Banerjee in honour of the President on Friday, Mukherjee said he was deeply moved by the gesture and the felicitation has made him humble, and not proud, about his achievements.

Showering praise on Mukherjee for his chequered political career spanning five decades, Mamata jokingly said though she knew him for so long, she is yet to get used to his presidential protocols.

“He is a son of the soil. With him as president, our Constitution is in safe hands. Show us and India the way,” said Mamata who along with Governor MK Narayanan and eminent citizens of the city felicitated Mukherjee.

Mukherjee said Mamata was right in saying that the most important job of the President is to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of India. “My role is defined and I will do my job sincerely,” Mukherjee emphasised.

The President reminded that when the Constitution was being written between 1946-49, the then British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden expressed apprehension about its effectiveness in an uneducated and underdeveloped country to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Eden said from Magna Carta, it took 700 years for parliamentary democracy to stabilise in Britain. Therefore, India’s date with democracy could be a long run. “However impressed with the way the parliamentary democracy had taken off in India, Eden said in 1957 his initial observation was wrong,” said Mukherjee. The President said the Constitution is not merely an instrument to run the administration but the most important Magna Carta of socioeconomic transformation.

“So far, India has successfully defended its democracy with the help of its people and not the leaders,” said Mukherjee.

And this is because India’s basic structure — federalism — has been retained. Mukherjee said the judiciary would ensure that both the legislative and the executive preserve the basic structure of the Constitution.