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Governor Patil skips Punjab, attends R-Day functions in Rajasthan

Special Correspondent
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Acting Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patil unfurled the national Tricolour, inspected the parade and took the salute during march past at the State-level function marking the 63{+r}{+d}Republic Day at Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Thursday. Indian Police Service probationer Kunwar Rashtradeep led the parade.

Mr. Patil also hosted the ceremonial “At Home” at Raj Bhavan here amid a raging controversy over his skipping the Republic Day events in his parent charge State, Punjab, and coming to Rajasthan where he only holds additional gubernatorial charge since April 2010.

Mr. Patil, who is also the Chandigarh Union Territory Administrator since January 2010, divides his time between the two States and spends more than half a month in Rajasthan. A State Government aircraft is at his service here to take care of his frequent travels between Jaipur and Chandigarh.

Even as Mr. Patil's unusually excessive interest in Rajasthan has baffled political observers here, his decision to give a miss to the Republic Day functions in Chandigarh was attributed to non-availability of Ministers and MLAs who are busy campaigning for the Punjab Assembly elections. Two days are left for the campaigning to come to an end in the State, which is going to the polls on January 30.

According to reports received here from Chandigarh, Union Territory Adviser K. K. Sharma hosted the “At Home” at the Raj Bhavan guest house. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal hoisted the national flag in Ferozepur town and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at Mohali under the watchful eye of Election Commission officials.

Mr. Patil met freedom fighters at the “At Home” here. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje were among those who attended the function.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Patil gave away medals, awards, prizes and certificates of merit to 43 officers, government employees, police personnel and citizens after the march past at the stadium.

School children and folk artistes dressed in colourful attire gave attractive cultural presentations. The dance in rhythm with an Urdu song, “ Hai Ishq Hamein Sarzameen Se… ” (We love our motherland….) filled the stadium with national fervour.

Mr. Gehlot hoisted the Tricolour at Badi Chapuad in the Walled City and called upon the people in his address afterward to take part in the nation's development and incorporate among themselves the spirit of the Constitution. “Several known and unknown martyrs waged a long struggle for independence and made great sacrifices. We must zealously guard [our] unity and integrity.”

Mr. Gehlot congratulated the six Padma award winners from Rajasthan and praised their contribution to various walks of life.

The sole Padma Bhushan recipient from the State this year is Prof. Arvind Panagariya, who now lives in the U.S., while the Padma Shri awardees are Mohanlal Kumhar, Sakar Khan Manganiar, Limba Ram, Devendra Jhajharia and Swapna Guha.

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