Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today described the outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee a guardian of the Constitution who always upheld its propriety.
"Pranabda exhibited a unique charm which won him many admirers. He made dealing with him a matter of delight. He put all his interlocutors at ease. He grew in stature with each day. His transformation from a senior minister to a president was exemplary. As a president he was completely non-partisan and conducted himself as an advisor and a guide to his governments," Jaitley said in a Facebook post.
Members of Parliament had yesterday bid adieu to the outgoing president at a gala ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament. He will demit office tomorrow.
"His presidency was the culmination of extraordinary career of a political leader. India has seen a few politicians like him who had the capacity to evolve into a statesman irrespective of their political affiliation and the office that they held. Pranabda is one such leader who brought dignity to every office that he held," Jaitley said.
Jaitley said Mukherjee as a president was unquestionably the guardian of the Constitution.
"He realised that in a democracy there could only be one power centre -- elected government and the prime minister. He, therefore, actively associated with two different governments during his presidency with equal ease. He ensured that all decisions of the council of ministers had to conform to constitutional propriety," said Jaitley, who also holds the portfolios of defence and corporate affairs.
The minister further said that Mukherjee owned up the programmes of the government and became their advocate.
"He once told me that he had the unique privilege of moving before Parliament the Constitution amendment of Good and Services Tax. He wanted to approve the Constitution amendment during his tenure as the president. It gave him a great satisfaction when he did so," Jaitley said.
He added that Mukherjee had a great sense of history which blended with his vision of constitutional propriety.
"The democrat in him insisted that the government and the Opposition had to work in tandem on major issues. He could recollect parliamentary and judicial precedents to decide which was the right course that had to be pursued.
"He exits from the Rashtrapati Bhawan with a great stature. He will now assume a greater role of advising and guiding the nation as an amicus curiae which he always was," Jaitley said.