Wish I could have come earlier to Rashtrapati Bhavan: Pranab

Wish I could have come earlier to Rashtrapati Bhavan: Pranab

On a hectic day marking completion of one year in office, President Pranab Mukherjee today inaugurated a library and sports ground with a small regret that if he had come to Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier he could have saved some structures from demolition.

"I thank my team and Secretary Omita Paul for renovating this library (named after him).

"I wish I could have come a little earlier and saved some (structures) from demolition and (they could) be utilised for better purposes," he said addressing families of those who reside in the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex. The gathering included a number of youngsters.

Mukherjee today spent close to two hours meeting kids, youngsters and staffers of the Presidential Estate as he dedicated the two facilities and unveiled a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the historic Durbar Hall of the President's house.

The 77-year-old President inaugurated the first ever statue of the father of nation in the Rashtrapati Bhavan which till now only has his portraits.

"Many great people come to this building and the next time they cross over to the Durbar Hall they will pause for a while and their heads will bow down in respect for the great saint," he said.

Mukherjee, during his talk in the library, urged the children and young students to make it a habit to read something everyday. He also gave away the first few membership cards to the staff of the Presidential Estate.

He promised that new publications that reach the Rashtrapati Bhavan will be made available to the 'reference and reading section' of the new library named after him. (

The circle-shaped library owes its resurrection to Mukherjee as it was marked for demolition because it was in a dilapidated condition.

The President later tried his hand at batting on a cricket pitch when he inaugurated a sports ground.

"This is probably the first time I am doing this," Mukherjee quipped as photographers asked him to pose.

Four cricket teams comprising youngsters and estate employees have been created for playing 20-overs matches.

They have been named as President's Secretariat Avengers, Presidents Body Guards (PBG) Chargers, Delhi Police Challengers and Household Royals.

During the events, Mukherjee was seen directing his officials to ensure the upkeep of all these facilities that he had inaugurated today and dedicated to the people to mark his first year in the top constitutional office of the country.

The President also interacted with Governors across the country through a new video conferencing facility installed in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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