New Delhi: Nearly 8,000 guests will attend the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday, making it the biggest-ever event held in the historic premises. While the guests attending the event will be treated to high tea, President Ram Nath Kovind will host a private dinner for the leaders from Bimstec countries as well as Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth – who have all confirmed their presence. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist Steel magnate L.N. Mittal is also expected to be present. “It will be the biggest-ever event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. 8,000 people are coming,” Ashok Malik, Press Secretary to the President, told IANS. The size of the gathering is seen as a reflection of the massive mandate received by Modi government in the Lok Sabha elections. Both the BJP and NDA have improved their tally compared to 2014. The swearing-in will be held in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the same venue as in 2014. The event then was attended by about 5,000 guests. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France The high tea will have snacks, including samosas, and paneer items apart from sweets, while at the President’s dinner, the visiting foreign dignitaries will be treated to “Dal Raisina” – a special delicacy of the Rashtrapati Bhavan that takes 48 hours to cook – among other delicacies. The Prime Minister will also attend the dinner, along with some officials. With the swearing-in scheduled for 7 p.m., dinner will be light as it will be served a little late in the evening. The dinner will have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and include soup, fish, chicken, vegetables and the “Dal Raisina” – a variant of popular ‘maa ki dal’. “It is a speciality of our kitchen. Its special recipe was developed here in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It takes 48 hours to prepare. The process of preparing it started on May 28 and it will be ready by tomorrow (Thursday),” Malik said. The Bimstec leaders attending the event include Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Myanmarese President U Win Myint, Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering. Thailand will be represented by its Special Enovy Grisada Boonrach. The event will also be attended by leaders of political parties, Ambassadors and diplomats and celebrities from various fields.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Cyclists face being banned from an A-road as lobby groups fear that the decision will spread further across the country. Proposals by Highways England to ban cyclists from a stretch of the A63 near Hull have led to dismay among cycling groups, who say the plan could “set an extremely dangerous precedent”.British Cycling CEO, Julie Harrington, and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity are jointly opposing the plans, which they say are “deeply concerning”.In a joint statement they said: “If speed and density of traffic was accepted as a reason to ban cycling, cyclists would be banned from the vast majority of our roads.”The only other road with a similar policy is thought to be an eight-mile stretch of the A19 on Teesside, where cyclists were banned in 2015. Highways England said that six accidents in five years involving cyclists, one of which was fatal, had prompted it to look at barring them from using the road. Humberside Police is also supporting the proposal. The strategy, published in January 2016, commits the organisation to creating new cycle networks, improving conditions for cyclists on roads and taking their needs into account when planning new routes. A spokesman for British Cycling added that Highways England had improved its attitude to cycling in recent years and the A63 proposals appeared to be a “unique situation”.He added: “One fatality in the last five years is actually incredibly low, particularly when you take into account that there have been 300 collisions involving cars on the same stretch of road in the same time period.”Cycling UK also opposed the plan, which they said was “entirely unreasonable and lacks both evidence and analysis”. Duncan Dollimore, the organisation’s head of campaigns, said: “It’s hardly surprising cyclists can’t keep up with motor vehicles on an A-road, but it is ludicrous to use that as one of the reasons for banning them. “If cyclists are banned from the A63 because they’re unable to hit high speeds, then where will it stop? It’s the thin edge of the wedge and shows a complete lack of reasoning.” The road is popular among racing cyclists as a time-trial route, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, who attempted to set a new British 10-mile record there in 2015. Highways England’s Emergency Planning Manager Andrew Charnick said: “The safety of everyone who uses our roads is our highest priority. “The A63 is a busy road and a large number of HGVs leave the docks and use the route to join the M62. There are alternative, safer routes available for cyclists.“In the last five years there have been six accidents involving cyclists, including one fatality. We have been working closely with Humberside police and the local authority on this issue and both fully support the plan.”A consultation on the plan ends on February 19. Ms Harrington added: “British Cycling does not, as a matter of principle, believe that the correct way to address the safety of cyclists is by banning the activity altogether, and that the successful implementation of this Traffic Regulation Order could have far-reaching implications for cycling here in the UK which are contrary to Highways England’s own Cycling Strategy.”