New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari were conspicuous by their absence at the memorial of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
The President and the Vice President were keen to attend the programme at Vir Bhumi to pay homage to late Rajiv Gandhi.
“But the organisers of the programme All India Congress Committee (AICC) decided to urge both the President and the Vice President to attend only the birth anniversary function of Rajiv Gandhi and not his death anniversary programme,” a senior Congress leader said.
It is the first death anniversary of late Rajiv Gandhi after Congress lost power at the Centre after its ten year rule.
Congress sources said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had written to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012 that they would like the death anniversary to be a low-key affair unlike the birth anniversary.
Added to this was the decision of the Modi government that all the functions on the occasions of birth and death anniversaries would be organised by the families of the leaders and not the government. The only exception was that of Mahatma Gandhi.
The President, Vice President and other senior leaders usually are usually present to pay homage to Rajiv Gandhi on his death and birth anniversaries.
Rajiv Gandhi, who was the sixth and youngest PM of India, was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu during a poll campaign.
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