Patil addresses empty chairs in Brazil’s SenateApril 16th, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by admin
By Liz Mathew
Brasilia, April 16 (IANS) Indian President Pratibha Patil found herself addressing a near empty Brazil Senate with only 20 of the 81-member house in attendance, leaving the president’s office fuming and Brazilian authorities as well as Indian embassy officials struggling for an explanation. In fact, had it not been the Indian delegation, including Non-Conventional Energy Minister Vilasrao Muttemwar, the president’s husband Devisingh Shekhawat and Indian Ambassador to Brazil Hardeep Singh Puri, who were seated in the front row, the hall would have looked absolutely empty when Patil made her speech Tuesday.
Patil is on a 12-day tour of Latin American countries, starting with Brazil. Her address to the Senate had been projected as a sign of the strengthening relations between the two powerful democracies.
As embassy officials and Brazilian authorities tried to explain the situation, the president’s office was believed to be unhappy over what it saw as an embarrassment.
Brazil’s ambassador in New Delhi Marco Antonio Diniz Brand