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“Corruption is an evil that can depress the nation’s mood and sap its progress. We cannot allow our progress to be hijacked by the greed of a few,” Pranab Mukherjee said in his acceptance speech after assuming office as the 13th President
New Delhi: Assuming office as the 13th President, Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday pledged to protect the Constitution not just in word but also in spirit as the office demands he rises above personal or partisan interests, reports PTI.
Making a brief acceptance speech after being sworn in as President in the Central Hall of Parliament, he termed corruption as an ‘evil’ and said the greed of a few cannot be allowed to hijack the progress of the nation.
“The principal responsibility of this office is to function as the guardian of our Constitution. I will strive, as I said on oath, to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution not just in word but also in spirit,” Mr Mukherjee said in his acceptance speech after he assumed the highest constitutional post at an impressive ceremony.
His speech was punctuated by repeated thumping of desks and applause.
“I am deeply moved by the high honour you have accorded to me. Such honour exalts the occupant of this office, even as it demands that he rises above personal or partisan interests in the service of the national good,” he said.
“There is no greater reward for a public servant than to be elected the first citizen of our republic,” Mr Mukherjee said.
The veteran leader reminded the gathering whose majority included top leaders of political parties, MPs, chief ministers and governors that “We are all, across the divide of party and region, partners at the altar of our motherland”.
“A modern nation is built on some basic fundamentals: democracy or equal rights for every citizen; secularism or equal freedom to every faith; equality of every region and language; gender equality and perhaps most important of all economic equity. For our development to be real, the poorest of our land must feel that they are part of the narrative of rising India,” Mr Mukherjee said.
Touching on the issue of corruption, he said the weight of office sometimes becomes a burden on dreams. The news is not always cheerful.
“Corruption is an evil that can depress the nation's mood and sap its progress. We cannot allow our progress to be hijacked by the greed of a few,” he said.
Calling for erasing poverty from the dictionary of modern India, he said, “There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger. Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor. We must lift those at the bottom.
“Our national mission must continue to be what it was when the generation of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Rajendra Prasad, B R Ambedkar and Maulana Azad offered us a tryst with destiny: to eliminate the curse of poverty, and create such opportunities for the young that they can take India forward by quantum leap,” he said.
He stressed that India's true story is the partnership of people maintaining “our wealth has been created by farmers and workers, industrialists and service-providers, soldiers and civilians.”
Dubbing terrorism as the “fourth world war”, Mr Mukherjee said it is a world war because it can raise its head anywhere in the world.