Political parties should rise above partisan politics and think about the work that needs to be done for the development and welfare of citizens, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday in his farewell address.

Kovind’s term ends on July 24, and his successor, former Jharkhand governor Draupadi Murmu, will be sworn in as the president on July 25. Murmu will be the first Adivasi woman to occupy the president’s post.

“Political parties must rise above partisan politics and uphold the principle that the nation is above all,” Kovind said in Parliament on Saturday. “With this principle in mind, they should think about the work that needs to be done for citizens’ development and welfare.”

The president said that constitutional means are available to citizens to press for their demands and express their opposition. “However, in my view, this right should always be exercised in a peaceful and Gandhian manner,” he added.

Kovind said that he sees the president’s post as being part of the parliamentary family. “Like any family, there may be differences between political parties,” he said. “However, all parties must constantly work for the benefit of the nation.”

The president claimed that India’s efforts in combatting Covid-19 received appreciation from all over the world. “With everyone’s efforts, we achieved the target of administering 200 vaccine doses in just 18 months,” he stated.

Kovind claimed that the government provided free ration to 80 crore citizens during the pandemic.

“The horrors of the past two years have also reminded us that the whole of humanity is indeed one family and the existence of all depends on mutual cooperation,” he said.

The outgoing president said that while much has been achieved by governments since Independence, much more needs to be done to improve the living standards of marginalised sections of society. He said that he grew up in a mud house, but far fewer children have to live in thatched houses with leaky roofs now.

“The country has been, slowly but surely, realising the dreams of Dr Ambedkar,” Kovind said.

The president will also address the nation on Sunday, PTI reported, citing the Rashtrapati Bhavan.