New Delhi : Neither Prime Minister Modi, nor most of his ministers, attended the Iftar reception hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for Muslims who break their daily fast during the Ramzan month.
However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla and Chemicals Minister Ramvilas Paswan made a brief appearance. In contrast, the Congress was present in full strength, including Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and the party’s Muslim MPs.
Modi never hosted any Iftar party during his 13 years as the Gujarat chief minister. There is no word either from the Prime Minister’s Office whether or not he will adhere to the tradition of his predecessor Manmohan Singh, who threw an Iftar party at his 7 Race Court residence every year, except in 2013 due to the Uttarakhand tragedy. It has been a practice in Delhi for prime ministers, union ministers and chief ministers to hold Iftar receptions. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee cancelled his Iftar only once in 2003 because of a foreign trip. Then President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a Muslim, also missed it in 2003, declaring that the money saved would be donated to three orphanages. The BJP had organised its first and last Iftar Party at its Ashok Road headquarters in 1998. This was because the elections were slated just after the month of Ramzan and the party wanted to show its soft face to the Muslims.