Unfortunate President Kovind won't present all awards, should reconsider, says Congress leader Manish Tewari
More than 70 winners of the National Film Awards said they would skip the ceremony in the evening after a last-minute announcement that President Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards.
NEW DELHI: Congress leader and former I&B Minister Manish Tewari today said it was unfortunate that President Ram Nath Kovind will not be presenting all the National Film Awards today and requested him to not break with tradition.
More than 70 winners of the National Film Awards earlier today said they would skip the ceremony in the evening after a last-minute announcement that President Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards, a departure from tradition.
"It is unfortunate Hon'ble President of India has not been able to find time to present ALL National Film Awards that showcase India's creativity, performing Arts & Soft Power.
President should reconsider as awards presented by the office he represents carries different GRAVITAS," Tewari said on Twitter.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan expressed "surprise" at the artistes' decision and said in a statement the President attends all award functions for a maximum one hour and this was conveyed to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
"President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour.
This has been the protocol since he took office.
It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is surprised by the 11th hour questions that have been raised," said Ashok Malik, the President's press secretary.
The function will be organised in two phases this year, the Press Information Bureau said.
The first set of awards will be conferred by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from 4 pm.
The second set will be presented by the President from 5.30 pm.
Traditionally, the President gives away all the National Film Awards.