New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unfurled the national flag at the historic Red Fort on the occasion of 68th Independence Day amid loud cheers from the public.
Here are the sidelights of the ceremony held at the 17th century Mughal monument:
As soon as the Prime Minister`s cavalcade arrived at the venue at 7:27 am, thousands of people from the general public and school children rose to get a glimpse of their leader and made a thunderous applause. Modi got down from his armoured car and waved at the crowd.
He then inspected the guard of honour and walked to the ramparts of the Red Fort and unfurled the tricolour at 7:30 am sharp.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh and the Defence Secretary received Modi as he arrived at the Lahore Gate.
Before coming to Red Fort, Modi went to Rajghat and paid homage to father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.
People from all walks of life had queued up to participate in the event as early as 5:00 am. This time around 10,000 seats were set aside for general public at the venue and they were filled by 7:00 am. Security personnel had a tough time managing an enthusiastic crowd.
Even after the seats were filled, gates were not closed and around five to ten thousand people stood throughout the function to watch the celebrations.
According to the police, around 35,000 to 40,000 people attended the function. There were seating arrangements for a total 26,000 people including 10,000 VVIPs and VIPs, 6000 school children and 10,000 for the general public.
Throughout the speech, people kept cheering and clapping jubilantly. The public responded to every pause with a loud cheer.
When Modi`s cavalcade was leaving the venue, children waved their caps and scarves and greeted him. In a rare gesture, the Prime Minister stopped his car and went to meet the children. He shook hands with some kids and greeted them on the occasion.
Tricoloured balloons were released after the Prime Minister concluded his speech.
Demonstrating their excitement and patriotic zeal, children sang the national anthem with festive fervour both at the beginning and end of the event.
A 21-gun salute was accorded when the Prime Minister unfurled the national flag.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh along with wife Gursharan Kaur, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Delhi LG Najeeb Jung were some of the VVIPs present for the event.