President hosts farewell tea for mediaJuly 17th, 2012 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) With just a week to go before her five-year stay in Rastrapati Bhavan comes to an end, President Pratibha Patil Tuesday hosted over 100 journalists from both print and electronic media over a cup of tea and engaged in a rare casual chat with them.
Patil took time to meet each and every guest at the tea and talk to them.
However, she ducked all questions about her future plans, including how she would spend her time after retirement.
“I do not know,” she said when asked about her post-retirement plans.
Patil, who was elected India’s first women president - and 12th since Independence in July 2007 - also evaded question on the large number of mercy petitions that she had disposed of during her five-year tenure.
Reports had said that she had disposed of 35 mercy petitions during her tenure, which is a record of sorts. But her office had defended her decisions, saying she had acted on the advice of the home ministry.
However, Patil said she would work towards eradicating social evils.
“I have been in public life for 50 years. I will continue to contribute especially in eradication social evils,” she said to a question.
Among the government officials present at the tea were the prime minister’s communication advisor Pankaj Pachauri and Press Information Bureau Principal Director General Neelam Kapur.
Patil will demit office on July 25, the same day as the new president assumes office.
She is likely to stay temporarily - for about two or three months - at a central government accommodation on Tughlaq Lane in the capital, before moving to her retirement home - again a Maharashtra government accommodation - in Pune.
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