French President Nicolas Sarkozy was almost 30 minutes late for a reception hosted by President Pratibha Patil on Saturday. The reason: his visit to the Taj Mahal, soon after attending the Republic Day Parade, took longer than planned.
<b1>No, the French President’s companion, supermodel-turned-musician Carla Bruni was not there with him. Instead, Sarkozy had his team of top advisers give him company as he walked down the white marble steps of the ‘Monument of Love.’
His “see you again soon” farewell message, however, kept hopes alive that he would be back, someday, with Bruni.
Sarkozy was scheduled to arrive at the Rashtrapati Bhavan well ahead of 4 pm. He, along with President Patil, were to walk down the central lawn of the presidential palace for the Republic Day reception hosted by the latter.
Patil waited till Sarkozy arrived (at about 4.20 pm), making her perhaps the first President of the country to have been kept waiting by the chief guest at such a reception.
The guests at the reception — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union ministers, top officials and diplomats of other countries — kept waiting on the lawns. The two presidents finally walked in at about 4.30 pm.