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Kalam fractures shoulder in fall

New Delhi, Feb. 6: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, known as 'the people's President' for his regular interaction with commoners, fell and fractured his right shoulder while supervising arrangements for one of the most popular public events in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The President has been admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital where he will be operated tomorrow morning.

'His general condition is absolutely fine and there is no cause for any concern or alarm,' Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson S.M. Khan said. He added that 'the mild fracture requires a surgical correction and rest for a few days' in the defence hospital.

After inaugurating a golf course in Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning, the President went to the Mughal Gardens to oversee the arrangements for throwing them open to the public from February 11 ' an annual event.

The ground was wet after last night's rain, and the President slipped and fell. An X-ray was done and doctors at the army hospital advised surgery. 'It could have been corrected through traditional methods but the President cannot wait indefinitely. So, he decided to have a surgery,' a source said.

Usually, the capital's VVIPs opt for the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences. But Kalam, sources said, feels 'very comfortable' in the army hospital where he had been going since he became the scientific adviser to the defence ministry.

Sources said Kalam will continue to work out of the hospital after the surgery and not hand over temporary charge to Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces but he has no executive powers. All crucial decisions will continue to be taken by the Prime Minister, who called the President today and wished him speedy recovery.

A conference of governors, which was to be inaugurated by Kalam on February 8, has been postponed.

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