NATIONAL

Gursharan praise for Musharraf's mother

PARTY TIME: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his wife Begum Sehba, and Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee at a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister in New Delhi on Saturday. - PHOTO: SUBHASH CHANDER MALHOTRA

PARTY TIME: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and his wife Begum Sehba, and Bollywood star Rani Mukherjee at a dinner hosted by the Prime Minister in New Delhi on Saturday. - PHOTO: SUBHASH CHANDER MALHOTRA  

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: "I envy your daughter-in-law. She is so lucky to have a mother-in-law like you."

This was what the Prime Minister's wife, Gursharan Kaur, told Musharraf's mother when she visited India a few weeks ago. When the Prime Minister recalled the remark, sitting across the high table at Ashok Hotel, the Pakistan President was all smiles.

That is killing two birds with one stone. The President was happy to hear his mother praised fondly; his "Begum Sehba" was also delighted to be acknowledged so subtly.

And, that was indicative of the overall relaxed mood at the elegant Convention Hall of the Ashok Hotel as virtually the who's who of Delhi turned up on Saturday evening to accord a warm welcome to Gen. Musharraf, and his wife, Begum Sehba, at the dinner hosted by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur.

The entire political establishment was at hand to make the general and wife feel at home. Apart from senior leaders like the former Prime Minister, I.K.Gujral; the Bharatiya Janata Party chief, L.K.Advani; the Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, almost the entire union cabinet was there. Lalu Prasad, Gulam Nabi Azad, Shivraj Patil, Pranab Mukherjee, Minister, Natwar Singh, Mani Shanker Aiyar, Kamal Nath, P.M.Syed, Arjun Singh.

And, then, there was a cross section of Delhi's elite, including senior officials, former and current diplomats, "Kashmir hands", senior media personalities, some leading industrialists as also actress Rani Mukherjee (who looked incongruously resplendent in a red saree), actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, besides former cricketers Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Navjot Singh Siddhu and Bishen Singh Bedi.

And the sumptuous spread for the dignitaries included a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like jhinga gulbadan, murgh daranpur, raan alishan, chapa pulusu, murg chettinad, paneer hazrat mahal, bharwan tamatar, bhindi masaledar and qabooli ki biryani. Also on the menu were hariyali masala dosa and gangura idli besides mango kulfi.

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