Central ministers give Rashtrapati Bhavan Iftar a miss

“There was not a single minister, not a single government representative and not a single BJP leader. In all these years, I have never been to an Iftar hosted by the President where there has been no representative of the Government of India,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Indian Express.

Written by Manoj C G , Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Published:June 24, 2017 4:29 am
Rashtrapati Bhavan, Iftar, Pranab Mukherjee, Iftar party President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Friday. (Express Photo: Anil Sharma)

No central minister showed up for President Pranab Mukherjee’s Iftar at Rashtrapati Bhavan Friday — this was the last he was hosting there before the end of his term next month.

“There was not a single minister, not a single government representative and not a single BJP leader. In all these years, I have never been to an Iftar hosted by the President where there has been no representative of the Government of India,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Indian Express.

SP Rajya Sabha MP Javed Ali Khan, among those invited, said: “I could not spot a single minister at the Iftar hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee. In the past, I have attended three Iftars at Rashtrapati Bhavan and I remember seeing ministers like Rajnath Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mahesh Sharma and Vijay Goel. This time, no one was there.”

Rashtrapati Bhavan had made seating arrangements with ministers in mind — Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar was to share a table with Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Rashtrapati Bhavan invites all members of the Union Council of Ministers to the Iftar.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who had attended the event last year, too was missing. National Commission for Minorities chairman Ghayorul Hasan Rizvi was there but he steered clear of guests like Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Azad and Yechury.

Asked about the no-show, Naqvi told The Indian Express: “I was about to go but exactly at that time, a CCPA meeting was convened. It was an urgent meeting that could not be missed. The Prime Minister, as you know, is travelling tomorrow. The meeting started at 6.30 pm and continued till 7.30-8 pm. Did nobody turn up? All ministers are usually invited.”

Among those who did attend the Iftar were former CEC S Y Quraishi, former Rajya Sabha MP Mohsina Kidwai, India Islamic Cultural Centre chief Sirajuddin Qureshi and theatre actor Aamir Raza Husain. Gandhi, who was at one of end of a semi-circle where the President was to greet guests, gave security personnel and Rashtrapati Bhavan staff some anxious moments when she declined to move ahead. “I am here now, do not embarrass me,” she said. Eventually, she joined Ansari, Yechury and others at the head of the formation.

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  1. S
    Surya Kant
    Jun 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm
    It is a waste of public money. Why partying in the name of religion. President should go to some mosque in some backward district in India and throw some dinner to the poor and downtrodden. Instead wasting public money
    1. G
      George Cruz
      Jun 25, 2017 at 8:52 pm
      The BJP is a development oriented party which is democratic/secular which is inclusive of every Indian citizen unlike the failed opposition parties like the congress, the communists who discriminate Indian citizens based on the caste/religion for vote bank. The BJP leaders have made the right decision as to not attend meeting of the failed opposition parties.
      1. A
        Against Sick
        Jun 25, 2017 at 8:24 pm
        This is similar to a secular outcry on Modi refusing to wear a skull cap. Why should BJP attend Iftar parties which have come to symbolize the perverse secularism as practiced by likes of Yechury, Sonia, Kanhaiyya, Kejri, Jehadidi etc in India? Why didn't Indian fraudsters (also called secularist) get 'attending Iftar' included as a cons utional amendment when they sneaked in 'Secularism' in Indian cons ution?
        1. B
          B. P. Srivatsan.
          Jun 25, 2017 at 7:39 pm
          Iftar parties should be personal and not public show of politico-religious affiliations. Further it is the best show of compassion to the poor and need. It is indeed to feed the poor and not for the rich to gorge who have not even fasted. Abdul Kalaam set an example by donating the amount spent on iftar party to orphanage and elderly who could not even dream of 2 meals a day. He showed his commitment by donating Rs.100000 from his own personal funds to it. Don't squabble over such big extravagant unwanted show of ones religious affiliations and argue who and why did not attend the function. The government has its own agenda and people Involved are busy working to make the nation stronger and have no time for parties!! Let us say happy Ramadan/ happy iftar/ eid Mubarak and move along my friend's. Jai Hind!!
          1. T
            Jun 25, 2017 at 7:22 pm
            Na sathNa vikaas, Sir fBakwaas,
            1. R
              Jun 25, 2017 at 7:47 pm
              So vikas for sickulars like you is iftar parties for politicians ??? No wonder you clowns lost so badly.
            2. K
              Jun 25, 2017 at 2:59 pm
              Saanp ko doodh pilane se uska zehar hi badhta hai! Yechuri ko to hindus se nafrat hai, par naam rakhe hai Sitaram aur khata hai sarkari iftar party mein.
              1. H
                Jun 25, 2017 at 9:48 am
                Dear Friends Why we r fighting on this pitty issue...when we all know that any political leader from any party do not beleive in any ethics.....they just use religion ...congress uses mushlims by arranging such parties hence BJP uses to bycott such parties....same is done by BJP by hosting Yoga day to use hindus n congress bycott that. These safedposh are very ugly minded...only politics vote bank is their dharma. So my friends just enjoy d festival n do not worry for these crooks. Thanks
                1. G
                  G. C. Mathur
                  Jun 25, 2017 at 8:17 am
                  BJP govt act of not parti ting in the Iftar party organised by the govt itself at Rashtrapati Bhawan this year is an insult to Indian democracy, and rather it is a show of strength to tell Muslims in India that they do not approve celebrating Muslim festivals being celebrated in a Hindu country, and intolerance.
                  1. K
                    Jun 25, 2017 at 3:03 pm
                    Why must there be breaking of fast by muslims be at the cost of public? Religion is a private affair.why should President and Goi parti te in it? It just shows slavery to muslim rule in India.
                    1. R
                      Jun 25, 2017 at 7:50 pm
                      Exactly correct Mr Krishna. 100 correct sentiment. These people bray about "secularism" but hold iftar parties and boycott yoga day . There is no meaning to these ridiculous celebrations and such "parties" are against Islam's tenants - which calls for charity not parties.
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