Canadian PM in Chandigarh, will stop at dhaba
Although there were reports last week that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper may not stop at a dhaba (roadside eatery) here over security concerns, officials of that country now say Harper is likely to savour dhaba fare here Wednesday evening.
Harper arrived here Wednesday afternoon.
There is still no clear indication, however, which dhaba might get to host the visiting Canadian prime minister.
Pal Dhaba in Sector 28 was earlier reported to be playing host to the foreign guest. However, security arrangements are also being made at Deluxe Dhaba, down the road from Pal, in the same Sector 28 market which is otherwise famous for its automobile accessories and motor parts shops.
Harper, who arrived in Chandigarh Wednesday afternoon from New Delhi, is on a day's visit to Punjab and Chandigarh.
He will offer prayers at the Takht Keshgarh Sahib, the second most important Sikh shrine after the Golden Temple, at Anandpur Sahib, 80 km from here.
Last week, after information that the Canadian prime minister would stop at a dhaba here was "leaked" to the press, officials had said that the visit has been cancelled over security concerns.
Harper will be staying at the upscale JW Marriot Hotel in Sector 35 here. He is expected to stop for an early dhaba dinner. He is also likely to be entertained by Bhangra dancers during this visit.
While Pal Dhaba is a popular eatery, with seating arrangements along the pavement, Deluxe Dhaba is not quite a real dhaba, owned as it is by one of the city's leading retauranteurs.
On Wednesday, Deluxe Dhaba appeared to be getting ready for a special guest, as carpets were rolled out and barricades erected.
Pal Dhaba's owner had spruced up the place over the last fortnight. Even though officials had earlier said that the Canadian prime minister would not stop here, the preparations continued.
A staff member at Pal Dhaba said, "We are not sure what the Canadian prime minister's plans are. We hope he'll come to us."
Chandigarh Police have engaged in security drills in the vicinity of the dhaba over the past two days.
Harper was received at the Chandigarh airport Wednesday by Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Harper will be flying in an Indian Air Force helicopter to Anandpur Sahib to visit the Takht Keshgarh Sahib.
He will offer prayers at the Sikh shrine, famous as the birthplace of the 'Khalsa Panth', the modern-day Sikh religion, before visiting the 'Virasat-e-Khalsa' (Sikh heritage museum) nearby.
It was at Anandpur Sahib on April 13, 1699, that the tenth Sikh master, Guru Gobind Singh, baptised the first five Sikhs (Panj Piaras) and founded the Khalsa.
Harper is set to leave for Bangalore Thursday.