After a gap of a decade, there will be no Iftar celebrations at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Ram Nath Kovind has said that Rashtrapati Bhavan being a public building, there would be no religious observances at taxpayer expense.
Iftar parties have been traditionally hosted at the Rashtrapati Bhavan except during the tenure of APJ Abdul Kalam, who was the president from 2002-2007. Iftar is the breaking of the 'roza' (fast) that is observed by the Muslims during the month of Ramzan.
"After the President took over the office, he decided there would be no religious celebrations or observances in a public building such as Rashtrapati Bhavan on taxpayer expense. This is in keeping with the principles of a secular state and applies to all religious occasions, irrespective of religion," said Ashok Malik, press secretary to the president.
He said the President, of course, wishes all fellow citizens on every major religious festivals.
In 2017, Diwali celebrations too had not taken place, though, the Rashtrapati Bhavan was lit with multi-coloured bulbs. Christmas carols were also skipped.
After Kalam demitted office, Iftar was resumed when Pratibha Patil succeeded him. Pranab Mukherjee, her successor, also continued the tradition till 2017.