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PM's Awadhi dinner for Obamas

delhi Updated: Nov 08, 2010 01:19 IST

Lilting tunes wafted across the lush green lawns of the Race Course residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he hosted a private dinner tonight for US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

Mahatma Gandhi's favourite bhajan 'Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye jay peerh paraaye janney ray' played by the Indian Navy and BSF Camels Band was heard with rapt attention by Obama, a self-confessed disciple of the Father of the Nation.

This was followed by the all-time hit from 'Waqt' --'O meri zohra jabeen, tujhe maloom nahin'.

Obama was seated on the head table with Prime Minister Singh, his wife Gursharan Kaur, Michelle, Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee and Rahul Gandhi.

The dinner started with shorba and mulagatani soups and the main course included chingara jammu prongs, fish and green-chilly lamb, kakori kababs, mughlai chicken, gobi, dal dampukht, rice pulao and a variety of Indian breads.

The dessert included kesar phirni and mava poti. The catering was from ITC Maurya where the Obamas are staying.

The US First Couple drove to the 7, Race Course Road residence of Singh from ITC Maurya and were warmly welcomed by Singh and his wife.

The guests at the dinner included A K Antony, P Chidambaram, S M Krishna and Sharad Pawar, senior BJP leader L K Advani and Arun Jaitley.

Also on the guest list were Anand Sharma, Prithviraj Chavan, Salman Khursheed and US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer, besides Sam Pitroda and Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Top business leaders Azim Premji, Ratan Tata, Swati Piramal and N R Narayanamurthy were among the guests which also included Bollywood personalities Aamir Khan, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akthar.

Chess wizard Viswanathan Anand and Environmental Activist Sunita Narain was also present at the dinner.

Ahead of the dinner, Singh and Obama were closeted for a one-on-one meeting for about 25 minutes during which the two leaders were understood to have taken stock of bilateral ties and ways to push these to higher levels of strategic partnership.