With a sense of profound gratitude we, the Members of both Houses of Parliament, have assembled here today to thank you and bid you a fond farewell. Madam not only have you brought great honour to the exalted Office of the President of the Republic of India but you also have made history by becoming the first woman to hold this position. I, on behalf of Members of both Houses of Parliament, would like to felicitate you.
The story of your journey from a practicing lawyer at the Jalgaon, District Court, Maharashtra to Rashtrapati Bhawan is truly remarkable. From being elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly at the young age of 27 years to leading a country with a billion plus population in 2007, you have had a sterling public career.
When you assumed the august Office of the President of India, it was a moment of pride for all of us, as for the first time we had the opportunity to have a woman as our Head of State. The five years of your tenure as First Citizen of our great country have seen Rashtrapati Bhawan as a symbol of dignity, grace and most importantly of women's empowerment. You are a role model for countless women of our country who constantly strive to better themselves and those around them.
In your long public life of fifty years, you have been associated with several institutions in various capacities. For more than two decades as Member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, you distinguished yourself as a capable political leader and administrator. Recognizing your strong credentials and experience, you were given charge of several Ministries in the Government of Maharashtra. As a Leader of Opposition and as a Minister, you displayed great concern for the emancipation of the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society. Your initiatives in establishing the Maharashtra Arthik Vikas Mahamandal and a separate all women’s Co-operative Bank in Maharashtra have been instrumental in strengthening the co-operative movement. The fact that you have not lost any election that you stood for speaks volumes of your commitment to the welfare of the common man.
Your presence in Parliament, initially in the Rajya Sabha and then in the Lok Sabha, for more than a decade from 1985 to 1996, helped the country to benefit from your political and administrative experience. Your stint as Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha from 1986 to 1988 stands testimony to your vast knowledge and expertise of parliamentary procedures. As a woman Parliamentarian, you led Parliamentary Delegations to popularize and promote women’s rights and causes.
As the first woman Governor of Rajasthan, you stood for the cause of war widows in the State. Your sensitivity for weaker sections of society was firmly established when you advised the Government of Rajasthan to initiate Mahila Swayam Siddha Kendras for providing temporary housing, education and formal training to women to enable them to earn a livelihood with dignity and self-esteem.
In your distinguished career you have remained devoted to the service of the country and betterment of our people. Your developmental and environmental initiatives are laudable and can be seen even in the premises of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
You personify the best of Indian culture and values. With the blend of tradition and modernity, you, as the Head of State, have earned the country and its people a renewed sense of glory, strength and respect.
At the time of your assuming office, you had stressed on the need for bringing about socially inclusive development in our national life. Today we would like to assure you that we will make sincere and relentless efforts in fulfilling your dream of transforming India into a modern, progressive and developed nation. In our service to the nation, we hope, you will continue to guide us in all matters of public interest.