Chirac to address MPs at Vigyan Bhavan

New Delhi, Jan 31 | Updated: Feb 1 2006, 05:30am hrs
French President Jacques Chirac, who is reaching here on February 20 on a two-day visit, is beginning his New Delhi tour with a joint address to parliamentarians and industry honchos at a special programme at Vigyan Bhavan.

The event, coming as it is when Parliament will be in session, has raised doubts about another major programme in subsequent days the possibility of a joint address to Parliament by US President George Bush when he visits New Delhi in March.

Government managers, however, refused to draw any conclusions from the two events.

The French Presidents programme was fixed well in advance, before the schedule of parliament was announced. He will be addressing a select group of industry people and MPs a senior official said.

Notwithstanding the explanation, an air of uncertainty has hit prospects of President Bush lending his presence at the August central hall in parliament.

There had been, in any case, considerable unease within the government on the issue given the opposition from Left parties, who had made it clear that they would organise protests against President Bush and possibly boycott him in parliament.

Earlier, the government had planned to invite the US president to address parliament as a return gesture, since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too had addressed the US Congress when he visited Washington last year. Government managers, however, asserted that no programme had been firmed up yet on President Bushs date with Parliament.