Kovind set to take buggy ride to Prez office today
New Delhi: Ramnath Kovind, the 71-year-old former BJP member and RSS swayamsevak, will take oath as the 14th President of India at the Central Hall of Parliament at 12.15pm on Tuesday.
Chief Justice of India Justice J S Khehar, will administer the oath of office, after which Kovind will exchange the chair with outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee. As is the norm, for the few seconds while the exchange takes place, Justice Khehar will be deemed the President of the country.
Interestingly, the famed buggy, which was brought out of retirement for the first time after 1984 by Mukherjee for the Beating Retreat ceremony in 2014, will have another outing on Tuesday.
Official sources said Kovind will take a buggy ride from Rashtrapati Bhavan to Parliament along with Mukherjee. While on their way, Mukherjee will be seated on the left side, with Kovind on his right. The two will exchange seats while returning to Rashtrapati Bhavanafter the oath-taking ceremony.
Chief Justice Khehar, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice-President Hamid Ansari will accompany Muk- herjee and Kovind to the Central Hall after their arrival. Soon after assuming the presidency, Kovind will address the audience, comprising members of the two Houses and invited dignitaries.
Later, Mukherjee, along with Kovind, will reach his new home, 10 Rajaji Marg, where the two will be re- ceived by FMArun Jaitley.
Mukherjee, say sources, is “looking forward” to some quiet hours at his new home, where all his belongings have already been moved. The room which has held the maximum interest for him, said sources, is the library, which has a substantial collection of Bengali literature. Officials added that Mukherjee was leaving behind all the gifts he received during his term.
Mukherjee has also insisted on keeping things simple, said sources, refusing to opt for an ostentatious vehicle. Former Presidents are allowed a vehicle with a driver, and fuel. Sources close to Mukherjee confirmed that he had shown an interest in an “ordinary” car, not the Mercedes he travelled in as President. A Toyota Camry has been suggested by his office to the MHA, which is over-seeing the preparations, said officials, adding that the ministry had recommended a bullet-proof vehicle for Mukherjee’s security.
President Pranab Mukherjee chats with successor Ram Nath Kovind at a book launch in Delhi on Monday, a day before the latter assumes office