New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The farewell function by parliamentarians for outgoing President Pranab Mukherjee in the Central Hall of parliament was marked by bonhomie among leaders of various parties as they greeted each other and chatted before his arrival.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seated in the front row, which also included Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Ministers H. D. Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh and BJP leader L. K. Advani.
Before he came to the house in a traditional procession along with the President, Modi was seen talking to Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar as they waited for arrival of Mukherjee.
As they walked into the Central Hall, a smiling Modi was seen talking to Mukherjee.
In his speech, which saw members thumping desks several times and later giving him a standing ovation, Mukherjee had a word both for the government and the opposition.
Emotional and nostalgic, Mukherjee, who has spent 37 years as parliamentarian, looked at a few pages of the book containing signatures of MPs that was presented to him.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was on the front row too, had intermittent conversations with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
Behind them, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav were engaged in a deep onversation.
External Affairs Sushma Swaraj went to Azad and spoke to him briefly after entering the central hall.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi took a seat in the eighth row and chatted with the parliamentarians sitting beside him.
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