President to visit in-laws village during Bangladesh trip

NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee’s Bangladesh visit will be a homecoming in more ways than one. Apart from the symbolism of his first overseas trip and the special rapport he shares with the establishment in Bangladesh, Mukherjee will also get a chance to visit his in-laws for the first time since he took over as President.

The President’s wife, Shuvra Mukherjee, belongs to Bhadrabila village in Narail district. The President is likely to take a 40-minute chopper ride to Narail when he is in Dhaka from March 3 to 5. A team including senior officials from the security and protocol sections has already visited Narail. “The President will be going to Narail to visit his in-laws’ family,” a source confirmed.

Officials also said that preparations had been made for Mukherjee to visit Rabindranath Tagore’s country home in Shilaidaha. Shilaidaha Kuthibari was built by Tagore’s father and is a place where the author spent some years and wrote several pieces. “All the arrangements are in place and are awaiting a nod from Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the source added.

When asked about the Dhaka visit, Rashtrapati Bhavan press secretary Venu Rajamony said the schedule had not been finalized yet.

Besides meeting Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina and senior politicians and officials, the President is expected to address a gathering at Dhaka University where he will be awarded a doctorate. He will also be honoured for his contribution to the country’s independence struggle in 1971. Former PM Indira Gandhi was the first “foreign friend” to be conferred with the Bangladesh Liberation War Honour and her daughter-in-law and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had received the honour on her behalf in a special ceremony.

Mukherjee’s visit comes following external affairs minister Salman Khurshid’s trip to Dhaka earlier this month to co-chair the second meeting of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) along with his Bangladeshi counterpart.

The Joint Consultative Commission was constituted under the Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development signed during the visit of PM Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September 2011.

Source: Times of India