In Pranab Mukherjee's Speech, A Hint Seen For President Kovind

A lifelong Congressman who occupied the President's office from July 2012 to July 2017, Pranab Mukherjee had not voted in the 2014 election which brought the BJP to power.

 Share
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS

Pranab Mukherjee said he exercised his right as a citizen after many years (File photo)


New Delhi: 

Former President Pranab Mukherjee appears to have subtly thrown shade at his successor Ram Nath Kovind, who voted on May 12 along with the rest of Delhi in the sixth phase of the national election.

A lifelong Congressman who occupied the President's office from July 2012 to July 2017, Pranab Mukherjee had not voted in the 2014 election which brought the BJP to power.

Though he had completed all the formalities to cast his vote through postal ballot, he changed his mind at the last minute to keep up the tradition of most of his predecessors.

Explaining his decision at the launch of "Defining India Through Their Eyes" -- a book by NDTV's Editorial Director Sonia Singh -- Mr Mukherjee indicated that it was made in accordance with the tenets of his office, which demands neutrality.

"After many years, I could exercise my right as a citizen, Citizen Pranab Mukherjee, when I went to a booth and cast my vote. Naturally a question may arise -- 'What were you doing before all these elections'," Mr Mukherjee said.

Explaining the situation, he said before becoming the President, he contested elections as a candidate. So during that period, he was required to be in the constituency he was contesting from, while his vote would be in faraway Bengal.

Later, the scenario changed. "To me, each and every one was equal. But in the election I am to choose somebody, I am to vote one, not more than 1. So I did not exercise my voting right," the former President said.

"Therefore, I felt satisfied, that at least as Citizen Mukherjee, I got a great privilege to exercise my franchise. I cannot say who I voted for, but I voted," he added.

"The decision was taken to maintain the tradition as most of his predecessors had done the same," said Venu Rajamony, the Press Secretary of Pranab Mukherjee.

In 1998, KR Narayanan became the first President to cast his vote. Later, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil also cast their votes at special polling centres in the premises of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

On May 12, Pranab Mukherjee cast his vote from New Delhi constituency, after transferring it from South Kolkata, where he was registered as a voter.

Mr Mukherjee, who was Finance Minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government before being elected as the country's 13th President in 2012, also appreciated the wholehearted manner in which the country took part in the electoral process.

"As many as 67.3% participated in this Lok Sabha election -- that's more than 2/3rd" he said.

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................