President Kovind will not host Iftar party at Rashtrapati Bhavan this year

New Delhi: While President Donald Trump is hosting an Iftar dinner at the White House, back in Indian, President Ram Nath Kovind has denied hosting an Iftar party stating that there should no religious observance at taxpayer’s expense at the public building. After nearly a decade, Rashtrapati Bhavan will not host an Iftar party this year.

“After the President took office in July 2017, he directed Rashtrapati Bhavan being a public building, there would be no religious observances at taxpayer expense. This is in keeping with the principles of a secular state and applies to all festivities, irrespective of religion,” Ashok Tandon, Press Secretary to the President, told ANI.

He said that the President wishes all fellow citizens on all major religious festivals.

“Officials and employees living in the President’s Estate premises are absolutely free to celebrate any religious festival of their choice in the privacy of their homes. President’s Estate has religious institutions, such as a temple, a gurdwara and a masjid, erected by and for residents. On major festive occasions, the President does visit these to wish people. For example, he recently visited the masjid to mark the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.

“President Kovind did not celebrate any religious festivities such as Diwali, Christmas and Holi though he wished all fellow citizens on every major religious festival since he assumed office last July,” he added.

Officials said that Iftar parties have been traditionally hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the term of APJ Abdul Kalam (2002-2007). Hosting Iftar party was resumed when Pratibha Patil became president. Her successor Pranab Mukherjee continued the tradition.

(With inputs from agencies)