Defence Minister A K Antony will perform all the customary duties of the Prime Minister during Republic Day on Monday, the government said on Saturday, clearing confusion over the issue.
"The Defence Minister will lay a wreath at the India Gate before the Republic Day parade begins and step in for the Prime Minister in all functions related to the Republic Day." Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in New Delhi [Images].
In the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] who is indisposed, Antony will also receive President Pratibha Patil [Images] and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is the chief guest for this year's celebrations, at Rajpath.
He will also preside over the annual NCC rally on January 28. Traditionally, the prime minister presides over the parade.
Antony will also host the tea party for the cadres and tableau artists at Teen Murti Bhawan in the evening.
Since the Republic Day events are Defence Ministry functions, it is normal for the Defence Minister to perform the role in the absence of the Prime Minister, Kar explained.
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