Pranab Mukherjee to be sworn in as the 13th President of India today

President-elect Pranab Mukherjee

Talkatora Road will lose one of its most high-profile residents on Wednesday when the occupant of house number 13 leaves for the Raisina Hill. Pranab Mukherjee, who despite being entitled to a bigger bungalow continued staying at 13, Talkatora Road, will move into Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340-room presidential palace, after he takes oath as the 13th President of India.

Dada, as the soon-to-be first citizen is affectionately called, will also have to let go of his favourite white Ambassador in favour of the presidential limousine.

Mukherjee’s last day as a common citizen will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat. A car from Rashtrapati Bhavan will fetch Mukherjee, along with his wife Suvra, from their residence. They will be accompanied by the military secretary to the President and an aide-de-camp. Dada, who is expected to choose a sherwani over his trademark dhotikurta, will then be whisked off to Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet outgoing President Pratibha Patil.

A big contingent from West Bengal is expected to attend Mukherjee’s swearing-in.

Dada has apparently indicated that as many as 17 of his relatives may attend. His elder sister Annanapurna Bandapadhay, however, will miss the event owing to ill-health.

There is speculation that Nobel laureate Amartya Sen might attend the ceremony. The economist is visiting his home in Bengal’s Santiniketan, a short distance away from Mukherjee’s ancestral place in Mirati of Birbhum district.

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who met Mukherjee on Tuesday, is scheduled to attend the ceremony along with some Congress leaders from the state.

10 steps to becoming the President (We bring you a sneak peek of the new first citizen’s first day)

1: A car from Rashtrapati Bhavan will arrive at Pranab Mukherjee’s Talkatora Road residence to take him to the presidential palace. It is said he has got a new sherwani stitched for the occasion.

2: After reaching Rashtrapati Bhavan, Pranab will be escorted to the study where Pratibha Patil will greet him. After that the outgoing President will step out for her final guard of honour.

3: Both Patil and Pranab will then climb into a buggy drawn by six horses. The buggy will take them to the exit gate where the presidential limousine will await them for the ride to Parliament.

4: At Parliament, they will be escorted to the Central Hall where the proceedings will be conducted by home secretary R.K. Singh. He will read out a notification stating Pranab has been elected President.

5: Pranab will be administrated the oath of office and secrecy by Chief Justice of India Justice S.H. Kapadia. Seated on the dais with Patil and Pranab will be Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

6: Patil and Pranab will exchange seats and he would be seated in the President’s chair. The new President will then deliver his first speech. His relatives from Bengal are expected to attend the ceremony.

7: After the oath-taking ceremony, which is expected to last for 45 minutes, both Pranab and Patil will return to Rashtrapati Bhavan in the limousine. Both the spouses will follow in a separate car.

8: At Rashtrapati Bhavan Pranab will take his first guard of honour at the forecourt of the impressive 340-room mansion. Both will return to the study where they are expected to exchange notes.

9: Pranab will then escort Patil out of Rashtrapati Bhavan and accompany her to 2, Tughlak Road, her new residence where she will stay till her house in Pune is completed.

10: Pranab will return to Rashtrapati Bhawan, but instead of the main building, he will stay in the guest house as the living quarters at Rashtrapati Bhawan are expected to undergo renovation.

Areas to avoid today
Motorists are advised to avoid roads near Vijay Chowk, Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhavan up to Janpath, Raisina Road between Rail Bhavan to Parliament House, stretch of Dalhousie Road, Krishna Menon Marg and Moti Lal Nehru Marg between 10 am to 2 pm as elaborate security and traffic arrangements have been made for swearing-in ceremony of the President.

Three Metro stations – Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Khan Market – will be closed to the public for two hours from 9-11 am. However, interchange will be allowed at Central Secretariat Metro station.

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