Rains spoilsport for President’s ‘At Home’ programme

New Delhi: Rains played spoilsport for President Pranab Mukherjee’s last ‘At Home’ programme of his tenure as heavy downpour forced change of the venue from majestic Mughal Gardens in the open to the confines of Durbar and Ashoka halls.

With around 3,000 guests descending for the ‘At Home’ function hosted by the President on the 68th Republic Day, Rashtrapati Bhawan had thrown open its Banquet hall and ‘Upper Loggia’ to accommodate everyone.

The President along with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were seated in the Ashoka hall while the remaining guests were accommodated in other three places.

Among VVIP’s present at the occasion were Vice President Hamid Ansari, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shanker Prasad, former mrime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Vice President was seen greeting 97-year-old Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who has been attending the function on wheel chair.

After the national anthem was played, the President, whose term comes to an end this July, went around meeting the guests in all the three halls before taking his seat, the Prime Minister was seen chit-chatting with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who was the special guest at the Republic Day parade.

Gandhi and Mahajan were seen holding each other’s hands and having a word with smile on their faces.