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Antony to stand in for PM in R-Day functions


New Delhi : Defence Minister A.K. Antony will stand in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is undergoing a bypass surgery, at the Republic Day function, the defence ministry said.

Antony will lead the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, Monday morning, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

“These are defence ministry functions and it is normal for the defence minister to perform the role in the absence of the prime minister,” ministry spokerperson Sitanshu Kar told IANS.

Singh, who is undergoing a bypass surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), will miss the Republic Day function this year.

“The defence minister will receive President Pratibha Patil and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, India’s guest of honour at the Republic Day parade, at Rajpath on Monday,” Kar said.

Antony will also preside over the National Cadet Corps (NCC) rally Jan 28 and host a tea party for the NCC cadets and members of the Republic Day tableau at the lounge of Teen Murti Bhawan.

According to doctors, Singh likely to remain in hospital for a week after the bypass surgery. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is officiating in place of Manmohan Singh, till he fully recovers.