Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and other senior Congress leaders are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Council of Ministers at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.
All prominent opposition leaders, chief ministers and governors have been invited for the swearing-in ceremony that is likely to see the highest ever 8,000 guests, including VVIPs.
While Puducherry Chief Minister and Congress leader V. Narayanasamy confirmed his participation for the sake of better Centre-state relations, other Congress chief minister, Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh, has excused himself due to "prior commitments".
"I will not be able to go for his oath ceremony tomorrow. I have sought time from PMO to meet him later," Baghel tweeted.
The opposition leaders who have been invited include Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others.
Rashtrapati Bhavan kitchen's speciality 'Dal Raisina' will be served to foreign delegates in a dinner to be hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind to dignitaries after the function.
The swearing-in ceremony will be of about 90 minutes and after that a dinner will be served to around 40 dignitaries, including Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and the prime minister, besides leaders of all BIMSTEC countries, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Ashok Malik said on Wednesday.
"This is for the first time that 8,000 guests will be attending the swearing-in ceremony that will be held from 7 pm to 8.30 pm on Thursday," Mailk said.
He said it will be the biggest event held in Rashtrapati Bhavan. About 4,500-5,000 guests have attended such ceremonies earlier.
'Dal Raisina', a speciality of Rashtrapati Bhavan's kitchen, is cooked for about 48 hours. Its main ingredients are brought from Lucknow. The preparation of the dal has started on Tuesday, Malik said.
Leaders of all BIMSTEC countries have confirmed their participation in the event.
Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov have confirmed their participation at the event.
President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, and Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli have confirmed their participation at the ceremony. From Thailand, its Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach will represent the country at the ceremony.
(With inputs from PTI)