The high tea menu for VVIPs after Narendra Modi’s swearing-in on the Rashtrapati Bhawan forecourt would include the Gujarati dhokla, apart from the usual RB signature sandwiches and patties. The menu for the general public at the forecourt, however, would not have dhoklas.
The menu is largely vegetarian, in keeping with the known preferences of the prime minister-designate. The original plan was to have a fully vegetarian menu but the flurry of invites sent out to foreign dignitaries and heads of state over the last two days have forced the last-minute inclusion of some non-vegetarian items too.
Modi will be the third Indian prime minister to be sworn in on the Rashtrapati Bhawan forecourt on May 26. It was to accommodate the large number of guests at the ceremony that the forecourt has been chosen over the other option, the historic Durbar Hall.
The menu for high tea on the North Court and the South Court will include sandwiches, dhokla, kebabs, patties, imarti, kachauri, wafers, biscuits, cold drinks and tea. The President, vice president, prime minister and members of his cabinet, Chief Justice of India, their families and the visiting foreign dignitaries will be hosted on the North Court in front of the residence of the President. In the South Court will be 800-odd MPs and their families. The VVIP menu will be served at both places. Arrangements are being made for 1,000-odd VVIPs.
Outside on the forecourt will be other invitees, media and Rashtrapati Bhawan staff. Their menu will be almost the same as the VVIP menu with the exception of kebabs, sandwiches and dhoklas. Arrangements are being made to cater to approximately 3,000 people which would also include protocol staff.
Said a person involved with the arrangements: “Dhokla is not usually served in Rashtrapati Bhawan, in fact it will not even be served in the forecourt high tea. It may have been included in the menu especially to cater to the taste of the future PM who has made his preference for all things Gujarati very obvious. The original idea was to have a fully vegetarian menu but now that there will be so many foreign guests, kebabs have been included.”
Most of the food will be prepared in the Rashtrapati Bhawan kitchen with some help from staff of the India Tourism Development Corporation and Hyderabad House.