This is official now. Pratibha Patil has become India’s 1st woman president. She was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan at a function in the Central Hall of Parliament House.
During the oath ceremony, a host of imminent political personalities were present including outgoing President A P J Abdul Kalam, PM Manmohan Singh, LS Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, RS Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union ministers, former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, opposition leaders, governors, chief ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.
After the oath-taking ceremony, a 21-gun salute was accorded to India’s 13th President (12th President, if we count in person) Pratibha Patil. She took the oath in English.
In her first speech addressing the nation as the 13th president of India, she favored a socially inclusive and sustained economic growth. She has also a vision for the country and she described her thoughts and ideas in her speech. She emphasized on the need of the women empowerment in the country.
She remembered Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the father of Indian Constitution, and said his life was always a great inspiration for her. She gave stress to ensure that every section of the society, specially the weak and the deprived, would be able to get equal opportunities in the development process.
The empowerment of women would lead to the empowerment of the nation. We must banish malnutrition, social evils, infant mortality and female foeticide from the country.
We must show wisdom and foresight in protecting our planet and our children, for the good of all living species and future generations.
We must ensure that science and technology serve our needs better, and help us develop a scientific temper that will unleash the full potential of our people, our farmers, our workers, our professionals and our entrepreneurs.
She said later that the people want better governance, faster development and a life of peace and security. The people should stand united in the fight against such divisive and destructive tendencies as communalism, casteism, extremism and terrorism.
Later, the Military Secretary to President, Maj Gen Vinod Chopra, arrived at Pratibha Patil’s residence at 9 South Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. He invited Madam President and her spouse Devi Singh Shekhawat to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.