Sunday 23 October 2016

As President I Am Expected to Listen: Pranab Mukherjee


The Constitutional responsibilities and duties associated with the President's office have shackled Pranab Mukherjee from freely expressing himself on government's policies -- which he has mastered during his active political life spanning over five decades.

Mukherjee could not help but share these thoughts at the Annual General Meeting of the Indian Chambers of Commerce here, as he said in a light hearted manner, "It is expected that others will speak and I shall listen."

Explaining the dilemma in accepting invitations to address gatherings like annual general meetings of business chambers, the President said these meetings are generally addressed by persons who are policy makers and those who are in the position to influence the policies of the government.

Mukherjee said these persons are in a much better position to explain the policies of the government.

"My difficulty is just two years ago I was an instrument, an important player in formulating the policy which is still being debated, which is still being commented upon. But the Constitutional responsibilities and duties and the office which I am holding hardly can I speak on any of these issues," the President said with a smile.

The President during his political career has headed the major ministries -- Finance, Defence and External Affairs -- besides heading the Planning Commission and being an active member of the Congress whose advice was much sought after on every important issue.

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