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Updated: July 24, 2012 02:13 IST

First Family packing up for Raisina Hill

Bindu Shajan Perappadan
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Sharmistha Mukherjee
THE HINDU Sharmistha Mukherjee

His major concern: shifting huge collection of books to Delhi

“I definitely have been thinking about what to wear for my father’s swearing-in but his only concern is how to shift his beloved collection of over several thousand books to Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said President-elect Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha on Monday. She was speaking about the hectic ‘packing’ process that the first family of the country is currently involved in.

“Right now there is chaos at home with close relatives, friends and well-wishers coming in to congratulate my father while we are trying to coordinate my parents shifting to Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said Ms. Sharmistha.

“I wasn’t there with him at the moment when the announcement [of Pranab’s victory] was made but when I met him a couple of hours later I touched his feet and congratulated him. It was a very precious, proud and happy moment for me.”

Opting not to reside with her parents at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Ms. Sharmistha said: “Of course I will help my parents settle in and will retain a room at Rashtrapati Bhavan but I don’t plan to stay there. I love my space and privacy and am not ready to give it up. Also I will be there for them as and when they need me. My mother is not keeping well and I will be there to help my parents in any manner they need.”

Ms. Sharmistha said: “As a daughter I hope this new assignment will give my father a little more time to rest. While he enjoys reasonable health he does need a bit of time for himself.”

“My father has the tremendous ability to absorb tension and is known to work for 17-18 hours a day. Recently there have been reports of him being short-tempered etc, but I have always known him to be a very calm person. But then I guess stress, workload and pressure do get to him sometimes.” Noting that Mr. Mukherjee’s immediate family and several members of his extended family are hoping to attend the swearing-in, Ms. Sharmistha said: “We are sure that he will fulfil his responsibility as the President to the best of his ability. His vast administrative experience and understanding of the people and the country will help him. Also, my father has a very thorough knowledge about the Constitution which, I am sure, he will use to serve the people.”

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We the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka have a special affinity
to Bengal as we arrived in the island nation from Bengal more
than 2500 years ago. Naturally we are proud that the first Bengali
has become the President of India. Please accept our congratulations.

from:  Walter Jayawardhana
Posted on: Jul 24, 2012 at 18:04 IST

Why are journalists after such trivial stories? 'First family' is a shameful extension of the term 'first citizen'. Eventually, we may end up making the whole kith and kin of the 'first citizen' the "first family relatives' club". What a shame !! This reiterates that family is an indispensable basic structure in a democratic polity. How far is it true?

from:  Vignesh Kumar
Posted on: Jul 24, 2012 at 09:52 IST

As a Bengali speaking individual ,I share the joy of whole bengali community scattered throughout the world for HE Pranab babu being elected for the highest post of India.His rational approach to political and social critical situation is well documented fact.But one thing I fail to understand although his wife and daughter made an emotional visit to Pranab babus father in laws house in present Bangladesh how could he himself did not feel like visiting the place in lifetime?People like Joyti Basu,Amartya Sen did not miss the oppourtunity to visit their ancestral home located in Bangladesh.I sincerely hope that HE Pranab Mukherjee will make a maiden visit to NORAIL of Bangladesh where his wife's relatives are living till date.Afterall Bangladeshi hospitality is legendary as found out by study ofOxford sociologists.

from:  Dr.Q.M.OHIDUL ALAM
Posted on: Jul 24, 2012 at 08:03 IST
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