President’s secretariat was recently stumped when First Lady wanted to write a letter to the wives’ welfare association of a paramilitary force. There was no prior template for such a communication which made this step of First Lady a dilemma for the staff.
“It was a ceremonial letter being sent by the First Lady Savita Kovind to the CISF wives’ welfare association. According to the rule precedent is followed, so a search for a similar correspondence by the previous First Lady was launched. However, no such correspondence was available,” said an official.
Former First Lady was Suvra Mukherjee. Just before Mukherjee, Pratibha Patil was the president. Her predecessor was A P J Abdul Kalam who was a bachelor.
Sources said the staff had to finally rely on correspondence by Usha Narayanan, wife of former President KR Narayanan. “Correspondence by Usha Narayanan was used as a template for the letter finally. The letter to the CISF wives’ welfare association is part of the ceremonial correspondence that the First Lady has been penning in the past one month,” said the official.
Officials, who had been part of Mukherjee’s team during his presidency, admitted that the First Lady had been ailing for some time. “But in the first few years of the presidency, the First Lady was active and participated in the activities. She also corresponded with several dignitaries, including Michelle Obama,” reminisced a former official of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Sources say the current First Lady has kept a low profile, and has been participating only in those activities where her role is required.