The President said that difference of opinion is essential in a democracy. There is no scope for intolerance. There must be debate, dissent and decision in a without which Parliamentary democracy will not be strong. Newspapers have a big role to play in encouraging debate and cautioning society from deviations and mistakes. In this connection, the President appreciated the role played by Aajkaal over the last 35 years in creating constructive popular opinion amongst people during an important period in the modern history of West Bengal.
Pranab Mukherjee was addressing at the 35th Anniversary celebrations of Aajkaal daily in Kolkata.
The President further referred to cartoons of P. K. S. Kutty, published in Aajkaal, wherein he was caricatured and said he enjoyed seeing those cartoons. Pointing out that cartoons represent important social commentary, the President cited the example of how Prime Minister Nehru would tell the doyen of Indian cartoonists, "Don't spare me, Shankar". He said Prime Minister Nehru's example of tolerance to criticism and satire should be preserved and strengthened in the modern day.
The President complimented Aajkaal for its many new initiatives and wished the paper the very best in its efforts to continue to remain popular, especially with the younger generation.
The Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, West Bengal Minister for Urban Development, Shri Firhad Hakim, former Indian cricket captain Shri Sourav Ganguly and many other dignitaries were present on the occasion.