Clouds, thunder may greet Modi at Rashtrapati Bhavan

India’s presidential palace will provide umbrellas in case of rains

NEW DELHI – With all arrangements in place, officials at India’s presidential palace called Rashtrapati Bhavan are keeping their fingers crossed that the weather does not play spoilsport during Monday's open air swearing-in ceremony of prime minister-designate Narendra Modi, a foreign news service reported on Sunday.

“We're hoping the weather will hold, and there will be no squall or rain,” said Omita Paul, secretary to President Pranab Mukherjee, while briefing journalists on the arrangements. But the weather office has predicted cloudy weather and thundery conditions in some places of the national capital.

In case it rains, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will provide umbrellas. “We will keep on standby around 1,000-2,000 umbrellas,” said an official at the presidential palace. If it pours heavily, the swearing-in could be held in the Durbar Hall, which can hold around 500 people.

“The adjacent rooms to the Durbar Hall can together hold around 350 people. In all, we would be able to accommodate around 800-900 guests,” Omita said. Around 4,000 guests, including seven heads of the government, are to attend the ceremony to be held in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The official also said that there was no plan to cover the venue with any water-proof marquee. Barring VVIPS, the rest of the guests are to arrive at the venue by 3.30pm. With the weather extremely hot, the Rashtrapati Bhavan would arrange for refreshments for the guests, including 350 media personnel, who would have to bide their time till 6pm, the scheduled time for the event.

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