President and PM to skip National Games opening

February 11th, 2011 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Ranchi, Feb 11 (IANS) The 34th National Games opening ceremony slated for Saturday will take place without the President, the Vice-President or the Prime Minister. Jharkhand Governor M.O.H.Farook will now inaugurate the Games.Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda had personally invited President Pratibha Patil. But the state government was informed that the president could not attend the ceremony due to busy schedule.

Munda also invited Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the opening and closing ceremonies, but they also have conmveyed that they cannot make it due to prior commitments.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken will attend the opening ceremony.

According to reliable sources in the government, Maken has asked the organisers to make his sitting arrangements far away from Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi, who was sacked as the chairman of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee by the ministry on charges of corruption.

Kalmadi is in Ranchi for the last three days and he will be present at the opening ceremony of the Games.

The buzz in the government is that the prime minister preferred not to arrive for the opening ceremony because Kalmadi would be present in his capacity as the IOA chief. But the state government is still making efforts to ensure the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Games closing ceremony slated for Feb 26.

The opening ceremony will take place Saturday evening at the main sports complex situated at Hotwar in Ranchi. Bollywood stars Amisha Patel and Sameera Reddy will perform at the opening ceremony. Sweta Tiwary will be the anchor and Slumdog Millionaires’ singer Sukhvinder Singh will croon to boost the players’ morale.

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