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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Pranab takes austerity drive to Rashtrapati Bhavan

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 25, 2012
First Published: 00:54 IST(25/7/2012) | Last Updated: 07:40 IST(25/7/2012)

As former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee steps into the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday, he brings along with him a key mantra from his previous job to his new address: austerity measures.

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Top government sources told HT that Mukherjee, who maintains a simple lifestyle, has already issued instructions against large-scale decorations or buying of whole new furniture for the presidential household.

"Rashtrapati Bhavan secretariat has been informed that the existing furnishing and decorations are enough and only necessary repair work should be done to the existing furniture," a key official said.

Rashtrapati Bhawan sources also confirmed that no new requirements have been demanded from Mukherjee's side so far. A couple of months ago before leaving the ministry, he had ordered austerity measures to show the government's seriousness to control fiscal deficit.

Meanwhile, Mukherjee's swearing-in ceremony is set have a dash of Bollywood glamour on Wednesday. Actor Mithun Chakraborty has been specially invited for function.

To ensure the presence of UPA’s biggest ally, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, a special flight was sent to Kolkata on Tuesday to bring her to New Delhi. Mukherjee had personally called Banerjee after the results were declared and made an emotional appeal to remain present during the ceremony.

At Mukherjee's official home, packing is almost over. While a large part of his book collection will be shifted to Rashtrapati Bhavan, other belongings will find shelter in his South Delhi residence.

Idols of Mukherjee's family deities from his Delhi bungalow will be shifted. "Pratibha Patil had a small prayer room ... That can also be used by the new President,” said a source.


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