President’s staff gears up to serve 6K guests
For the biggest ceremony ever at the presidential mansion, where around 6,000 invitees including foreign delegates and VIP invitees will gather, no professional chefs or hotels have been hired.Updated: May 29, 2019 23:26 IST
When President Ram Nath Kovind hosts a quiet dinner for the dignitaries in attendance at the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Thursday, the lavish spread will be entirely prepared by staff at Rashtrapati Bhavan, with no outside help whatsoever.
For the biggest ceremony ever at the presidential mansion, where around 6,000 invitees including foreign delegates and VIP invitees will gather, no professional chefs or hotels have been hired. “We are capable of feeding our guests. Everything will be done by the Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen staff and no outside professionals have been invited for this purpose,” press secretary to the President Ashok Malik told HT.
This is a departure from the 2014 swearing-in ceremony of the first NDA government when chefs from the capital’s top 5 Star hotels were enlisted to help prepare food to the taste of the foreign dignitaries. There will be two menus for the evening — one for the high tea for all invitees and the other for the select guests who will stay on for dinner. “It will not be a banquet but a dinner where apart from the President, around 40 other dignitaries will be present,” said Malik.
Rashtrapati Bhavan will serve samosas, rajbhog, lemon tart, fruit tart, tea and coffee at the high tea, which is expected to be attended by all the 6,000 people. In the 2014 programme, less than 4,000 people had gathered for high tea on the sprawling forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the largest Presidential estate after Turkey’s Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi.
Almost all Indian states will find representation in the dinner menu. Although many government programmes have turned into an occasion for a full vegetarian fare in the past few years, Rashtrapati Bhavan will serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on Thursday. “A soup, Kashmir’s Rogan Josh, Awadhi biriyani and Amritsari fish tikka are likely to be served along with a special Rashtrapati Bhavan black dal,” said an official.
The seating arrangement will be almost the same as in 2014. The President’s secretariat will install temporary toilets at the corner of the forecourt and serve water as little relief is expected from the scorching heat. Last time, the secretariat under President PranabMukherjee had also prepared a contingency plan to shift the programme to Durbar Hall in case it rains heavily. “The same plan exists even as no one really expects it to rain tomorrow,” said an official.
Due to the heat, the ceremony will start at 7pm instead of the 2014 schedule of 6 pm and is likely to go on for an hour. Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit Rajghat in the morning to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi
First Published: May 29, 2019 23:26 IST