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Home > News > Report

A day when three leaders broke protocol

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | January 26, 2008 20:01 IST

It was an At Home with a difference when President Pratibha Patil [Images] hosted French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images].

The number of invitees was far more than ever in the past. What marked the day was the fact that three important dignitaries breaking protocol to shake hands with the distinguished audience.

President Pratibha Patil -- being the host -- took the lead. She had directed the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials to make arrangements in such a manner that she could walk through the invitees while taking adequate measures to give security cover to the VVIP's present. As she walked past, a writer said the President had not found time to go through a book she had given her. "I will find time to read through it and get back to you," the President said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] surprised everyone when he walked up to his security in-charge. Soon, Dr Singh walked up to the French ambassador, who was seated with the ministers in a separate enclosure, and lead him to where Sarkozy was seated.

Sarkozy then decided to shake hands with the guests and sign autographs for senior journalists who were keen to find out about Sarkozy's visit to the Taj Mahal [Images].

Taking cue from the two, Dr Singh too spoke to the journalists and answered their questions. Talking to, he said he had raised the issue of turbans being banned in French schools with the visiting president. He said that things do not happen overnight and it might take time to resolve the issue. Interestingly, Daljit Singh, whose son was the first to be affected by the law, was also present.