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Patil to assume charge on Thursday

Pratibha Patil will assume charge as India's first woman President and the nation's 12th in the Central Hall of Parliament House on Thursday.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2007 04:59 PM IST

Pratibha Patil will be inaugurated as India's first woman President and the nation's 12th in the Central Hall of Parliament House on Thursday after having won decisively one of the murkiest battles for the top office.

Patil, 72, will be administered the oath of office in the presence of Supreme Court Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan at 2.30 pm, followed by a 21-gun salute.

She will arrive in Parliament in a ceremonial procession along with outgoing President APJ Abdul Kalam. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi are among those slated to accompany her to the Central Hall.

Patil will also address the joint session of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, watched by state governors, top civil and military officials and senior diplomats, officials said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, she will leave for Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, where an inter-services guard of honour will be presented to her in the sprawling red-sand forecourt.

Kalam, whose post-retirement bungalow at 10 Rajaji Marg is still being refurbished, will leave simultaneously for the army guest house in the capital's cantonment area in the southwest.

This will be a temporary accommodation and his actual bungalow is expected to be ready by the time he arrives back from Chennai, officials said. He leaves for the Tamil Nadu capital, where he is taking up a teaching assignment, towards the weekend.

Patil was Rajasthan governor when the Congress nominated her as the presidential candidate of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left. She won a thumping victory on Saturday, defeating Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who has since resigned as the country's vice president.

Patil is a veteran Congress politician who has served in the Maharashtra government for over two decades. She was also once leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra assembly but has not been on the national stage till she became the choice of the ruling coalition after the supporting Left parties rejected its first three choices.

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