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Miffed or not, Ashok Chavan will receive Obama at airport

Last updated on: November 06, 2010 12:06 IST
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Protocol Minister Suresh Shetty will receive United States President Barack Obama at the Mumbai airport on Saturday as representatives of the state, along with Union Minister Salman Khurshid.

"The ministry of external affairs has told us that the chief minister and the protocol minister would receive Obama on his arrival at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport," an official from the chief minister's office told PTI.

Khurshid has been chosen by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the minister-in-waiting for Obama.

Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Home Minister R R Patil have also been invited for a speech against terrorism by the US president, scheduled at the Taj hotel in the afternoon.

However, the ministers have not confirmed whether they will attend the function or not, an official from Mantralaya (the state secretariat) said.

Senior ministers and bureaucrats in Maharashtra were upset after personal details were sought from them by the US consulate in Mumbai for attending programmes during Obama's visit to the city.

"In the invitation to me, to the chief minister, home secretary and others, a form is attached in which they have asked for PAN number, photo, passport number and other details... The host is asking for details from a guest he is inviting. If he doesn't know who this guest is, then why is he inviting," a miffed Bhujbal had said on Friday.

The US consulate in Mumbai, however, has apologised and described it as a "clerical error".

Bhujbal and Patil may not attend the function, the Mantralaya official said adding, Home Secretary Chandra Iyengar, Director General of Police D Sivanandan and Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjeev Dayal would also stay away from the function as they would be busy handling security.

Obama will arrive at the city airport at 12.50 pm from where he will proceed to the Taj Mahal hotel and make a statement to commemorate the 26/11 terror attacks. He will pay his respects to the victims and sign the guest book.

He will then visit the Gandhi museum at Mani Bhavan to honour the memory of the father of the nation.

Obama will also attend a business summit organised by the US-India Business Council, participate in a roundtable with entrepreneurs and US CEOs and deliver a speech at Hotel Trident, another target of 26/11 carnage.

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