New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee's family is planning to celebrate his ascendancy as President of India on July 25 after he formally assumes office, his daughter Sharmistha said on Sunday.

Sharmistha, a well-known kathak dancer, said, "I think the celebrations will be postponed to 25th July. Once he assumes office formally we would definitely celebrate.. with a large family gathering, and that would be the real time for celebration," she said, adding that the past few weeks "were really crazy for him".

Asked if Mukherjee would continue to conduct Durga puja after becoming President, or whether they would shift the puja to Rashtrapati Bhavan, Sharmistha said, "Not at all, he is going to be a President of secular India." She added that the puja would continue to be held in the Mukherjee ancestral home in Mirati village in West Bengal's Birbhum district.

Asked if Mukherjee's wife Suvra would play an active role as first lady, Sharmistha said her mother was not keeping well and may not play an active role as the President's wife. "My mother is not well, she is not keeping well since last many years.. I really don't know how much active role she will play because of the health. I don't think her health condition will permit her, in discharging certain duties... which otherwise she would have gladly done."

Sharmistha said her father would give a new dimension to the office of President of India with his experience and his personal rapport with political leaders that cut across party lines.

"I think he has done justice to the offices he has held. He has fullfilled his duties and responsibilities to the best of his ability in whatever he has done. I'm sure he will give a new dimension to the office of the President of India," she told a TV channel here.

"I think over all these years, he has developed excellent personal rapport - cutting across party lines. Whatever the opposition might say, but personally they hold him in high esteem. I think that definitely helps.. his stature... his ability to build consensus, all these things will definitely help," Sharmistha said.

The counting of votes for the Presidential election will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday and the result is likely to be out by 4 p.m. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) looks confident of its candidate Pranab Mukherjee's win by a huge margin, with major political parties supporting him.


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