Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was unable to attend Republic Day celebrations in his own state on Friday, as his flight got stuck at Abu Dhabi. The delay resulted in a controversy in the state over a possible breach of protocol at the CM's camp office
Naidu was scheduled to arrive at the Indira Gandhi Municipal Corporation (IGMC) stadium in Vijayawada and was expected to return from Davos in Switzerland on Friday morning, where he had attended the World Economic Forum (WEF).
However, his flight was delayed due to bad weather in the form of fog, which left the Chief Minister unable to attend the flag hoisting. He landed at the Gannavaram airport at the outskirts of Vijayawada, only at 4pm, after a delay of around nine hours.
The entire delay was also a reason for minor confusion as the CM has to be present during the flag hoisting, as per protocol.
This also triggered off speculation if there were any such instances in the past of chief ministers skipping the Republic Day.
There was also controversy after Naidu's wife, Nara Bhuvaneswari, unfurled the tricolour at the CM Camp Office on Friday morning, on the Chief Minister's behalf.
While reports claimed that it was a breach of protocol and the flag should have been hoisted by a Minister, TDP leaders and supporters argued that the camp office also doubled as the CM's residence, and his wife could salute the tricolour instead of him.
ESL Narasimhan, the common Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, who was hoisting the flag in Vijayawada first and Hyderabad later, since the last three years, also changed the order.
The Governor first unfurled the flag in Hyderabad, before heading to Vijayawada, reportedly on the request of the Andhra Pradesh government.
In Naidu's absence, chief secretary Dinesh Kumar received Narasimhan, as per the protocol and escorted him to the stadium.
Narasimhan unfurled the flag, and inspected the parade, despite the Chief Minister's absence.