President Mukherjee given civic reception by Bengal government (Lead)

September 14th, 2012 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee, who Friday began a four-day official visit to his home state Bengal — his first after assuming the nation’s highest post, was accorded a civic reception by the Mamata Banerjee government.

The ceremony was held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, in the presence of the entire state cabinet and other dignitaries from the field of sports, arts and literature. Mukherjee was presented a glass statue of Rabindranath Tagore, a memento and a traditional dhoti-kurta by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Assembly Speaker Biman Bandopadhaya and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chattopadhyay also presented mementoes to the president.

Singer Sandhya Mukhopadhya, veteran actress Supriya Devi, cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya, industrialist Sanjiv Goenka and painter Jogen Choudhury were present at the ceremony, which began with the national song followed by a Bengali chorus song presented by school students.

It was followed by a cultural programme where traditional Bengali songs, and Rabindra Sangeet songs were performed. Traditional dances such as ‘Chou’ were also performed.

Addressing the ceremony, Banerjee reminisced over her long political and personal association with Mukherjee.

“It is a protocol to address as President as Sir. But I really don’t know what to say whether President Pranab Mukherjee or Pranabda, as I am habituated. We have two-three decade-long relationship,” said Banerjee

“I still can’t believe that our own Pranabda has become president of India. We are very happy. We have very fond memories, sometimes he used to scold us, sometimes he used to advise me, sometimes we both used to quarrel,” she said.

Mukherjee, who arrived here on his first visit to West Bengal after assuming the nation’s highest post, was received at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport by Governor M.K. Narayanan and Banerjee, while an armed forces contingent presented a ceremonial guard of honour.

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