In a letter to Kovind on Sunday, a day before he demitted office, PM Modi also paid tribute to his personal journey from a small village in Uttar Pradesh to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, lauding it as "a parable for our country's evolution and development, and an inspiration for our society"
Ram Nath Kovind greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pic/PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has heaped praise on Ram Nath Kovind, saying he set the highest standards of principles, probity, performance, sensitivity and service during his tenure as India's President.
In a letter to Kovind on Sunday, a day before he demitted office, PM Modi also paid tribute to his personal journey from a small village in Uttar Pradesh to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, lauding it as "a parable for our country's evolution and development, and an inspiration for our society".
"Through your life and career, you have persevered with determination and dignity, with a deep commitment to the morality and integrity that is at the core of the Indian ethos, and with the highest regard and responsibility towards the principles of our Constitution," he said.
During his presidency in his numerous actions, interventions and speeches, he has represented and carried the best of India to all corners of the country and the world, PM Modi said.
The prime minister told Kovind that he had always been generous with his time and counsel to him over the past five years.
"I will continue to turn to you for advice. It has been a real privilege to work with you, Rashtrapati Ji, as your Prime Minister," he said.
Sharing the letter, Kovind tweeted that it has deeply touched him. "I take his kind and heartfelt words as a reflection of love and respect fellow citizens have showered on me. I am sincerely grateful to you all," he said.
Modi wrote that as President, Kovind upheld and reinforced the ideals of India's Constitution and the vitality of its democracy with sound judgement, great dignity and extraordinary statesmanship and always with the best interests of the Republic as his compass.
As the country's first citizen, he was always unwavering in his compassion and concern for the welfare of the weakest citizen, and remained firmly and proudly rooted in its soil and connected with the people, he added.
Kovind was always in people's company, sensitive to their problems, perceptive about their expectations, and acutely aware of the needed change, he said in the letter.
"You were a steadfast and passionate champion of social transformation and inclusion, speaking for the poor, the historically excluded and oppressed, and the marginalised, with special attention to the status and role of women," the prime minister said.
"The themes and issues that you have prioritised -- the civic duty in giving back to society, the commitment to an India that is a confluence of our ancient heritage as well as of modern science, and of sustainable social change driven by increasing and expanded access to education, especially for girl children -have been well thought-out and meaningful," he added.
PM Modi noted that his interaction with Kovind, a long time BJP member before being appointed first as Bihar governor and then President, goes beyond his presidency.
He has seen him toil among people during his political career, and as an MP he made a mark as an effective parliamentarian.
His gubernatorial tenure in Bihar was outstanding as he made unparalleled efforts to make the Raj Bhavan into a "Lok Bhavan", accessible to the common people.
Prime Minister Modi said he was always deeply touched by Kovind's humility, grace and generosity, and mentioned their visit to his native village Paraunkh in Uttar Pradesh a few weeks back.
"I was particularly touched to see how you had donated your family residence to help others, especially those belonging to the poor and marginalised sections of society. It was equally heartening to see you retain the deep connect with your roots and the affection the people showered upon you," PM Modi said.
His special gesture of coming to receive him at the helipad will remain etched in his memory forever, the prime minister said.
Equally special was Kovind's gesture of visiting his mother and talking to her on several issues which showed his deep-rooted commitment to the value-systems integral to Indian society, the prime minister said.
"Your life and service reflect the dearly held belief that you recently shared with students - never fail to give back to the society which has given you the opportunity to become a successful individual," PM Modi said.
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