The stage is getting set for the elaborate ceremony of India’s 14th president taking office with a committee of secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha being constituted to oversee arrangements. The top bureaucrat of the country will coordinate with all ministries concerned to ensure that the inauguration ceremony proceeds smoothly. The election to select the next president is scheduled on July 17. It will be followed by the ceremony of the president-elect joining office. A senior official associated with the arrangements today said necessary directives had been issued to officials concerned about the ceremony. “The ceremony is an elaborate affair which is conducted with precision and requires meticulous planning by several ministries, departments and agencies of the government of India,” according to an official communique issued recently. It includes the swearing-in ceremony in the central hall of Parliament and the ceremonial procession from Rashtrapati Bhavan to Parliament House and back. “A committee of secretaries is being constituted for the purpose of overseeing the arrangements for the ceremony of assumption of office by the new President,” it said. The ruling NDA and the opposition are yet to come out with their nominees for the presidential polls. Incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee completes his five-year term next month. The Election Commission has prepared the poll schedule to elect the new president. The last date for filing nominations is June 28. The BJP has constituted a three-member committee, comprising senior union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and M Venkaiah Naidu, to hold talks with allies and opposition parties for the election.
A 10-member group comprising leaders of top opposition parties will meet here tomorrow to discuss their nominee. Opposition leaders have held several rounds of talks on the issue. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been trying to reach a consensus in the opposition on candidates for the presidential and vice presidential election.