President returns to Delhi from southern sojourn

Hyderabad, Dec 31 : President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday returned to the national capital after his southern sojourn at Rashtrapati Nilayam here.

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, several state ministers and top officials saw him off at the Begumpet airport.

The president spent 13 days at his southern retreat but spent most of the time either flying to different states to fulfill his commitments or meeting politicians of Andhra Pradesh over the contentious Telangana issue.

Before flying back to Delhi, President Mukherjee Monday evening hosted 'At Home' attended by the governor, the chief minister, several ministers and top officials.

The southern sojourn is usually a complete holiday for the president, who doesn't see visitors during the period, but for Mukherjee it was all work no relaxation.

He not only attended various programmes in other regions, but had a busy time here meeting leaders of various political parties and non-political groups supporting or opposing formation of a separate Telangana state. A day after his arrival here Dec 19, Mukherjee flew to Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi to attend various programmes.

He visited Anantapur Dec 23 to attend the valedictory of the birth centenary celebrations of former President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy and the next day attended a dinner hosted by the governor in Hyderabad.

The President flew to Allahbad Dec 25 to inaugurate an annual convention of Bengali literary personalities of India. He attended various programmes in Agra, Aligarh, Mumbai, Thane and Pune Dec 27 and 28.

During his stay in Rashtrapati Nilayam, the Telangana issue kept him busy. Leaders of several parties called on him. Some demanded he expedite the process for formation of Telangana state, others appealed to him to keep the state united.

His annual retreat began a few days after Telangana bill sent by him reached the state assembly. Those from Seemandhra region opposing bifurcation complained that the central government was not following the due process for formation of Telangana state while their counterparts from Telangana urged him to expedite the process by not extending the Jan 23 deadline for the assembly to send back the bill with its views.

Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, several state and central ministers, members of parliament and state legislators from both Seemandhra and Telangana met Mukherjee during his stay.

--IANS (Posted on 31-12-2013)

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