gfiles magazine

February 9, 2011

Segregation at Rashtrapati Bhawan
  vvips, vips and the janta
 THE annual Republic Day at-home of the President in Rashtrapati Bhawan is acquiring elements of the ludicrous. The number of invitees has grown enormously though the high tea still manages to retain its gracious quality. What is most startling is the decision, since President Pratibha Patil assumed office, to bifurcate the lawns into separate areas for VIPs and non-VIPs. There has always been one VIP area meant for the President as well as top government functionaries such as the Prime Minister and party leaders. Other invitees would meet the President in this area in groups.
Now, there is yet another VIP area meant for Cabinet members and chiefs of the defence services. The rest of the invitees are kept outside these two areas. Not only are all the invitees security-cleared, the purpose of the evening is to ensure that the members of the legislature, executive, judiciary and media mingle. President APJ Abdul Kalam would even venture out of the VIP area to meet everyone, in keeping with the spirit of the do since 1947.

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