President arrives on a three-day visit to Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 31 (UNI) A rousing reception was today accorded to President Pratibha Patil on her maiden three-day visit to Kerala after assuming the highest office in the country.

The President arrived here at 1545 hrs by a special Air Force plane.

She was received at the airport by Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Opposition leader in Kerala Assembly Oommen Chandy, Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Jayan Babu and others. She also inspected a Joint Ceremonial Guard of Honour by the armed forces.

After exchanging plesantaries with those who were at the airport to receive her, the President drove straight to Raj Bhavan.

The President would be accorded a civic reception tomorrow at the Central Stadium in the city. She would also inaugurate the Clean Kerala Mission at the same venue and would leave for Kovalam beach resort in the afternoon.

More than 1,400 police personnel were deployed in the city as part of the tight security measures in view of her visit and the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the BJP Kerala tomorrow to protest bifurcation of Palakkad rail division for creation of the Salem division.

Special arrangements had also been made for the smooth passage of the President's motorcade, keeping in mind the bitter experience during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the night of October 31 last year. The Prime Minister's motorcade was stuck on the wrong road for five minutes after the pilot car, driven by a tourist taxi driver, lost its way en route to the Raj Bhavan.

Official sources said the President would leave for Chennai on November 2.

UNI

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