For the second straight year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave President Pranab Mukherjee’s Iftar party a miss, the purported reason being a meeting of the chief ministers of the North East states. Incidentally, in the 14 months that he has been prime minister, Modi has not had a separate meeting with these CMs although the North East is a focus area for the government.
The Iftar calendar in the national capital has considerably lightened since the NDA government came to power with Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s being the exception. Modi had skipped Mukherjee’s Iftar party last year too.
Among those present at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday were Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Ambassadors of Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Bangladesh and Pakistan also attended the party.
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Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, former chief minister Omar Abdullah, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, NCP president Sharad Pawar, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, TMC MP Derek O’Brien, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and diplomats from several other Islamic countries attended the reception. Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung were among those who attended the Iftar.
In his message, the President said: “Ramzan, a month of blessings and forgiveness, reminds us of our duties towards the poor and less-privileged as well as the need for charity and generosity towards all. Let us during this holy month pledge to spread love, affection and mutual trust among all. May the spirit of Ramzan instill in each one of us a sense of unity and pride in the composite culture of India.”
The dinner menu included a host of items like malai kabab, mutton biryani, fish fry, mutton korma, chicken gravy, paneer gravy, malai kofta and vegetarian biryani.