President Pranab visits Kolkata house



Kolkata: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday visited his residence in south Kolkata for the first time after assuming the highest office two months ago, enjoying every moment of his four-hour stay with his close friends and relatives.

Mukherjee had invited a few of his friends and relatives in his house at Dhakuria where he was gifted books.

Since he is on a vegetarian diet ahead of Durga Puja, which begins next month, his personal staff had cooked a traditional vegetarian Bengali lunch for him.

Besides sweets, Mukherjee feasted on some of his favourite dishes like 'Aalu posto', 'Begwon bhaja' and 'Aalu potol'.

His son Abhijit, who is a Congress MLA, and wife Subhra were also present at the flat housed in 'Vatayan' apartments.

Chaya Naskar, who has been working as a caretaker of Mukherjee's flat for the past 30 years, told PTI, "I am glad he could come here and meet all of us despite his busy schedule and protocol restrictions."

As per protocol, the President stays at Raj Bhavan here during his visit to Kolkata.

"As a minister he could easily come here and spend one night during his Kolkata stay, but now we don't think he can stay here. We will miss him," Naskar said.

Tight security arrangements were in place at Mukherjee's residence with police restricting entry of outsiders in the apartment and closing nearby shops.

Mukherjee told relatives that he wishes to visit the house once again next month during Durga Puja.

"He also told us that he is very happy staying at Rashtrapati Bhavan as he can take long walks there," a relative said.

Mukherjee will leave for Delhi tomorrow after a four-day trip to Bengal.

PTI