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Modi steals the show at President’s ‘At Home’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the ‘At Home’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

Protocol and poise were forgotten when Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped out of the VIP enclosure to greet guests at the “At Home” at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

Foreign dignitaries, retired bureaucrats, men in uniform and women in their evening best clamoured to greet the Prime Minister. Some wanted to shake hands, others wanted an autograph, a few were content with just a glimpse of him from close.

And Mr. Modi obliged — he shook hands, was generous with his smiles and scribbled his name on hurriedly produced paper. But with media persons ready with their questions, he chose to be parsimonious with his words, using gestures and cryptic replies instead.

Asked why he chose to do away with the bullet-proof shield at the Red Fort, where he made his Independence Day speech in the morning, the reply was a brusque, “Why go into such detail?” To another question on the time frame he has set for achieving his goals, the answer was a gesture that indicated “far sight.”

Human chain

The security personnel had to form a human chain to keep people from getting too close to the Prime Minister.

Dressed in his signature Kurta and sleeveless jacket, Mr. Modi was seen greeting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and exchanged pleasantries with President Pranab Mukherjee’s wife, Surva, and daughter, Sharmishtha. BJP patriarch L.K. Advani chatted with Ms. Gandhi in the VIP enclosure, where the former Prime Minister and his wife sat with Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Ghulam Nab Azad.

While Mr. Modi departed from tradition by not delivering his Independence Day speech from behind a bullet- proof glass, President Pranab Mukherjee chose to dispense with the custom of having guests segregated at the “At Home” function. Mr. Mukherjee and Dr. Ansari also stepped out to greet guests.

For the Ministers who accompanied the Prime Minister, the occasion was special. “It is an absolute feeling of joy and pride to see a BJP worker being greeted in the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the country’s Prime Minister,” Meenakshi Lekhi, MP, said.

As the evening sun began to set, there was much bonhomie and friendly banter in the Mughal Gardens.


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 4:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/narendra-modi-steals-the-show-at-presidents-at-home/article6321859.ece

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