Politicians, diplomats attend president’s At Home reception

August 16th, 2008 - 12:17 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) Politicians, diplomats, socialites and just about anyone who matters in Delhi flowed into the lush green lawns of the Mughal Gardens for the reception hosted by President Pratibha Patil on the 61st anniversary of India’s Independence Day Friday. Belying predictions of rain, it was unusually hot as the city’s power pack networked and backslapped before the official start of the annual reception with the singing of the national anthem. Patil shook hands with the guests at the ‘At Home’ reception.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior cabinet ministers, including External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar were among those present.

Some 3,000 were invited for the event, of whom around 2,500 showed up, Nitin Wakankar, deputy press secretary to the president of India, told IANS.

Former prime minister I.K. Gujral, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Central Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, danseuse Sonal Mansingh, culture czar Rajiv Sethi, sitar maestro Amjad Ali Khan added sparkle and variety to the reception.

Not many politicians from opposition parties were seen at the reception.

The staff at Rastrapati Bhavan, who were prepared for a sudden burst of showers, sighed with relief when the hour-long function went off without a hitch.

They had made elaborate preparations in case the rain played the spoilsport.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan staff had arranged around 600 umbrellas to escort the guests from the parking lots.

They had also prepared for serving snacks to guests at the the Ashoka Hall, the Durbar Hall and the Banquet Hall.

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