Showering lavish praises on President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he – an outsider to Delhi politics before 2014 – settled in the capital in his new role holding on to Mukherjees fingers.
Affectionately calling him ‘Pranabda’, Modi said: “Pranabda ki ungli pakad kar Delhi ki zindagi mein apne aap ko set karne me bahut suvidha mili (Holding Pranabda’s finger, it got easier for me to settle in Delhi’s life).”
Modi was speaking at the launch of the book Â‘President Pranab Mukherjee — A Statesman’.
Mukherjee, a Congress veteran, is going to demit office on July 24.
At one point, Modi got emotional while saying that in the last three years, there had never been an occasion, whenever the two met, when Mukherjee did not treat him with “fatherly affection”.
“He (Mukherjee) would often tell me, Â‘Modiji, you will have to take rest for half of the day. Why are you running around so much, reduce your programmes, take care of your health’,” Modi recalled, adding that it was the “nice human inside President” that was speaking.
The Prime Minister said he found himself “fortunate” to have got the chance to work with Mukherjee.
Commenting on the book – a pictorial journey of Mukherjee’s life as the 13th President of India published by Statesman group – which he released, Modi said that moments captured in pictures become historic.
“The world sees the President as flanked by big people, following protocols. But among those protocols, there is also a lively human being… Newspapers often fail to catch the person outside political activity,” Modi observed, adding the newly released book shows the human side of the President in certain candid frames.
Modi also rued that India had never been a “history conscious society” which did not care to preserve things of historic importance.
“There has been a drawback with us… We have never been a history conscious society. Our scholars still have to visit British libraries for research (on our own history),” he said.
Modi said the practice of preserving items and institutions which serve as the chroniclers of history were important in a nation’s life.