NEW DELHI: IFTAR and Christmas celebrations are just one of the many religious festivities that take place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Diwali and Raksha Bandhan are some of the other festivals which are celebrated in the President’s official residence. Reportedly, Diwali was also not celebrated. But on the eve of last Diwali, the Rashtrapati Bhavan was lit up with a special multicoloured light display. During Raksha Bandhan, school girls tied ‘Rakhis’ on the wrist of Kovind.
CPI(M) politburo member Mohammad Salim, who has attended many iftars at Rashtrapati Bhavan, termed the development a “political” matter. “This certainly has a political overtone. Earlier, the BJP — because of its Sangh influence — used to campaign against hosting of iftar parties, but when Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji became Prime Minister, some ministers and ministries started hosting iftar parties.” The iftars at Rashtrapati Bhavan used to see the PM, ministers, Congress, Left and BJP leaders in attendance.
But, Rashtrapati Bhavan’s iftar saw a visible change since 2014 when Narendra Modi became the PM. He skipped the iftar four times. Mukherjee had hosted the last iftar on June 23 and it generated a controversy because no BJP minister attended it. But, in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the government was represented at iftar by one or the other Union minister, such as Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley or Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.