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Pranab pranam hits protocol

Bolpur, Oct. 7: Sorry, Mirati, dadababu cannot accept your pranam this Puja.

None in his family can touch Pranab Mukherjee’s feet — that’s protocol for the President of India.

“No one is allowed to touch the President’s feet. There is no such provision in the protocol,” said Pradyut Guha, the additional private secretary to the President.

The restrictions do not end here.

According to Guha, all of Mukherjee’s relatives and others residing at the Mirati home may be issued identity cards that would be their only pass to join the President in the rituals. “The cards will help security personnel identify Mukherjee’s family members,” he said.

Guha refused to talk about other protocol details.

Birbhum police said Mukherjee, who will attend his first Puja after becoming the President, is scheduled to arrive in Mirati on October 19 and stay there for four days.

On October 3, a team from Delhi visited Mirati for a reconnaissance.

A visit to Mirati during the Pujas is a must for Mukherjee. He is known to participate in the rituals — people flock to the Durga temple to listen to his chandi path.

The family members were “naturally” disappointed. “Every year, he sits on a chair outside the temple and we touch his feet. That has been the custom for years. Most of the year, he is in Delhi. Puja is our only chance to be near him. It is natural for us to feel disappointed,” a lady said.

District Congress chief Syed Siraj said he was prevented from touching the President’s feet when Mukherjee had come down to Calcutta for the reception Mamata Banerjee had lined up last month.