A ''Bush fever'' that did not affect Rashtrapati Bhavan!

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) Dr A P J Abdul Kalam's five-year tenure at Rashtrapati Bhavan not only transformed the august office, making it more accessible, but the functioning style of the presidential staff as well, raising the level of confidence among them.

During US President George W Bush's visit to India in 2006, the staff refused to change the carpets or allow the American secret service and policemen take over the security at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

In his book titled ''The Kalam Effect: My Years With The President,'' Dr Kalam's then secretary P M Nair, in one of the chapters, gives an account of President Bush's visit to the Rashtrapati Bhavan in mid-February 2006.

''I had a call from a very, very important office of the Government. The call was from a very senior officer in that office.

In his polished, bureaucratic way, he sounded me that perhaps the carpets in the corridors of the Rashtrapati Bhavan could be changed.

In an equally controlled voice I inquired why.

''The reply came: 'Bush is coming.' I am a patient of hypertension and when tension hits I have no patience. As I respected the caller I simply said, ''No, obviously not. Whatever is good enough in the Rashtrapati Bhavan for other presidents and heads of state should be good enough for the US President too. He rang off,'' says Mr Nair.

He further says that a similar call came from a very senior Ministry of External Affairs functionary, who wanted to inspect the facilities at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

''He said, 'PM, at your convenience let us jointly inspect the facilities in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You know, President Bush is coming.' I know, I said. There is nothing to inspect. This is not the first time a head of state is visiting. Whatever was good last week for that head of state who visited us is good enough for the one who is visiting us next week too. This senior officer with whom I had a perfect equation and understanding did not say a word further,'' adds Mr Nair.

The phones did not ring any further either, at least on this matter, he writes.


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