Ex-Indian president hails Hasina’s influence

FORMER India president Pranab Mukherjee (pictured) has lauded the leadership of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and the country’s “re­markable development” during his visit to the country last week.  

He said books appeared to be his main companion in his “retired life” as he called on Hasina a day after his arrival on a four-day private visit to Bangladesh.  

“I did politics for a long time. Now I am passing time reading books,” Hasi­na’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim quot­ed Mukherjee as telling the prime minis­ter as she hosted a lunch in his honour at her Ganobhaban residence.  

“I was in a constitutional post as the Indian president and also in parliament. After retirement, I’ve enough time to read,” Mukherjee added.  

Officials said Hasina received the for­mer president and his daughter, Con­gress leader Sharmishtha Mukherjee, at the entrance of her official residence.  

Mukherjee joined a Bengali literature conference and received an honorary doctorate degree conferred upon him by state-run Chittagong University in the southeastern port city during his visit.  

Mukherjee said that he appreciated Bangladesh’s remarkable development in socio-economic sectors under Hasi­na’s leadership, saying the scenario had now made the country an attractive place for investment.  

He recalled that his first foreign tour as Indian president was to Bangladesh in 2013 referring to his personal links to the neighbouring country.