At Home event Prez Kovind hails 26 Covid warriors
A total of about 100 guests, including 26 Corona warriors, were invited for the programme that started with a brief speech by President Ram Nath Kovind hailing the Covid warriors (PM Modi led a round of applause for them).Updated: Aug 16, 2020 00:31 IST
President Ram Nath Kovind hailed 26 Corona warriors at an otherwise subdued At Home reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan which lasted just around 25 minutes and, for the first time, saw no former Indian Prime Minister attending the event.
Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla sat at the main table; other dignitaries included BJP president JP Nadda, defence minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval, union ministers Hardhvardhan, S Jaishankar, Nirmala Sitharaman and Modi’s principal secretary PK Mishra. The event was held in Rashtrapati Bhavan’s convention centre, with portraits of former Presidents adorning the walls.
The three service chiefs along with CDS Bipin Rawat and a few ambassadors were also present.
A total of about 100 guests, including 26 Corona warriors, were invited for the programme that started with a brief speech by President Ram Nath Kovind hailing the Covid warriors (PM Modi led a round of applause for them).
Refreshment including traditional delicacies such as samosa and dhokla. To drink, there was tea (green and normal), coconut water and orange juice. While hot samosas were served to guests, by waiters who were not just masked, but also sported a face visor, the dhokla, enchilada, and the tricolour sweet that is customary in many independence day celebrations, were already kept on shrink wrapped plates.
There was designated seating, at tables named after rivers. Guests were ushered to their tables the minute they entered, although there was a bit of the usual networking seen at such events before the event started. With just around 30 tables, there was no special VVIP area like there usually is.
According to officials involved in organising the event, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Devegowda decided to skip the event due to the Covid situation. Similarly, Union home minister Amit Shah, who is in home isolation after he tested negative for Covid and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was recently admitted in the hospital, also didn’t attend the event.
For the first time, the function saw no spouses of the invitees, no live food counters, no freedom fighters and no free interaction with VVIPs—new rules of a new normal, protocol-wrapped ceremony, in the times of a pandemic.
People were allowed in after their temperatures were taken; everyone was asked to show their status on the Aarogaya Setu contac-tracing app; and those not wearing N95 masks without valves, were provided them.
The guest list was heavily pruned to maximum 90 from the normal gathering of 1500 dignitaries.