President Ram Nath Kovind will have a shortened annual southern sojourn in Hyderabad from 22 to 26 December. This is a brief five-day visit here compared to at least a fortnight stay by earlier Presidents Pranab Mukherjee, Pratibha Patil and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Usually, the President of India spends every yearend at Rashtrapathi Nilayam in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad.
This will be the first southern sojourn of Kovind who took over as the President five months ago. The shortened stay of the President has surprised the Telangana government, which has already extended an invitation to him for the valedictory session of the World Telugu Conference (WTC) from 15 to 19 December here.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has announced that the President has consented to be the chief guest at the valedictory of WTC and has planned a grand ceremony to felicitate him on the occasion. The message that Kovind would be here only on 22 December has caught the CM’s office unawares and they are unsure if the first citizen would make it possible for the WTC event.
“We are trying to contact the President’s staff to see to it that the VVIP would be present at the WTC concluding ceremony. We hope that he would come here on 19 December, even if his southern sojourn begins on 22 December,” said an official in the CMO. The President was at Visakhapatnam on 8 December to participate in a function held by the Indian Navy.
Chandrababu Naidu is planning to introduce his Cabinet colleagues to the President at a dinner. KCR is planning to unveil a souvenir of WTC through the hands of the President, if he cannot attend the valedictory function.
The Telangana government is planning to host a grand reception to Kovind during his stay in Secunderabad which will also be joined by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan will host a dinner in honour of the President and the President will host a dinner to important personalities from both the states, during his five-day programme.
AP CM Naidu, too, is planning to introduce his Cabinet colleagues to the President at one of the two dinners. KCR is planning to unveil a souvenir of WTC through the hands of the President, if he cannot make it to the valedictory. According to a tentative programme from Rahstrapathi Bhavan, Kovind will also attend one or two events in Karnataka and Kerala during his sojourn here.
A few Dalit associations and Opposition parties like YSR Congress and the Left parties are likely to meet him over some public issues. A Dalit rights group from AP has announced that they would seek reduction of jail term to two Dalit youths Chalapathi and Vijayavardhan Rao, life convicts now in the Rajahmundry central jail.