More than 65 awardees of the National Film Awards on Thursday skipped the ceremony held in the capital on Thursday after a last-minute announcement that President Ram Nath Kovind would be presenting only 11 awards, a departure from tradition.
Expressing “surprise” at the “11th-hour questions”, Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a statement that the President attends all awards functions for maximum one hour and that this was conveyed to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
“President attends all award functions and convocations for a maximum of one hour. This has been the protocol since he took office. It was conveyed to Information and Broadcasting Ministry several weeks ago and the ministry knew this all along. Rashtrapati Bhavan is surprised by the 11th-hour questions that have been raised,” said Ashok Malik, press secretary to the President.
The function, being held at Vigyan Bhavan, will be organized in two phases this year, the Press Information Bureau said. The first set of awards will be conferred by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani and the Minister of State Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from 4 pm. The second set will be presented by the president from 5.30 pm.
Traditionally, the President gives away all the National Film Awards.
(With PTI inputs)