President Pranab Mukherjee will be hosting an Iftar party, which will be his last as the head of state, at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. What is more, this could well be the final one at Raisina Hill, according to Indian Express report. Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not attend the event hosted by Mukherjee. The ritual of hosting ifter parties has virtually discontinued after the BJP led NDA came to the power in 2014, the report says. With NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind having edge over Meira Kumar in terms of electoral college votes, Rashtrapati Bhavan may well not see another ifter party in near future, the report said. Kovind filed nomination papers this morning in presence of PM Modi.
The election will be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is ending on July 24. The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination will culminate on June 28. If elected, 71-year-old Kovind will be the second Dalit President after K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002.
Last year, President Mukherjee conveyed his message of unity during Iftar party. The President had said that the spirit of Ramzan will instill in every Indian a sense of unity and pride in the composite culture of India. He had urged everyone to spread love, affection and mutual trust during the holy month, a press release issued by the President’s office said, as per PTI report. Mukherjee had expressed the hope that the spirit of Ramzan will instill in every Indian a sense of unity and pride in the composite culture of India, it said.
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Dignitaries who had attended last year’s Iftar included Vice President Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Besides them, Sitaram Yechury, Sheila Dikshit, heads of diplomatic missions, religious leaders and public figures from various walks of life attended.
On Monday last, BJP in Jammu and Kashmir had criticized Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for hosting an iftar party in Jammu two days after the killing of six police personnel by militants in the Valley, reports PTI. The ruling alliance partner had also said that the chief minister should have canceled ‘iftar’ keeping in mind the emotions of the family members of the slain police personnel, including an official.