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Parliament being spruced up for Obama's visit

By Onkar Singh
October 28, 2010 11:29 IST
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Sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau, the Research and Analysis Wing and the Delhi police have turned the Parliament premises into a virtual fortress to ensure that nothing goes wrong during the visit by United States President Barack Obama, who is scheduled to address the joint session of the House on November 8.

"Technically, you cannot call it a joint session. At best, it can be termed as President Obama's speech to the members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha," former secretary general of Lok Sabha Subash Kashyap told rediff.com on Thursday.

A special committee has been constituted to issue special passes to editors of various newspapers who want to witness the historic event.

"We have received a large number of requests. It is not possible to have virtually everyone in the galleries. Security clearance would be of utmost importance," said a senior official.

Barring a handful of VVIPs with special letters to attend the historic event, requests by most chief ministers and governors, who wanted to attend the joint session, have been turned down.

"A special committee headed by Bal Shekhar, additional secretary in the Lok Sabha secretariat, would be screening all the requests and the final decision would be taken based on merit," he said.

The Parliament building has witnessed a flurry of activities in the last few days. The place is being repainted and the paintings decorating the walls of the corridors are being re-fixed to make sure nothing goes wrong during the visit.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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