Mumbai, March 23: Paying tribute to Maharashtra’s first chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan, President Pranab Mukherjee Saturday said that the capacity to build consensus is the hallmark of true leaders in a democracy.
“In earlier days it was bravery and muscle power which determined leaders. But in a democracy it is the capacity to build consensus and carry people along that determines the true leader,” Mukherjee said at the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of Chavan’s birth.
Terming Chavan the architect of modern Maharasthra, Mukherjee said that he had the privilege of working closely with Chavan and his style of functioning epitomised pragmatism.
“His was not an easy task when the state of Maharashtra was formed in 1960 with Mumbai (then Bombay) as its capital. Mumbai had already become a financial capital of the country and a true cosmopolitan city. He had to convince the industry that the investment climate will remain conducive, even after formation of a linguistic state, and he succeeded,” Mukherjee said.
Remembering Chavan as the defence minister in the aftermath of the India-China war, he said that Chavan raised the morale of the Indian armed forces which resulted in decisive victories in the 1965 and 1971 wars.
Mukherjee presented the Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2012 to railway engineer and the architect of Delhi Metro E. Sreedharan, for his contribution to the construction of Konkan Railway.
“I accept this honour on behalf of my team of engineers and architects who made the dreams come true,” Sreedharam said.
Mukherjee also paid homage to the revolutionaries of the independence movement Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, who were hanged on March 23, 1931.
Maharashtra Governor K. Sankarnarayanan, Chief Minsiter Prithviraj Chavan, union ministers Sharad Pawar, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Praful Patel and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar were amongst those present.