Alappuzha: Congress president Sonia Gandhi is going be the chief guest at the 57th edition of Keralas famed snake boat race in Alappuzha on July 31. It is an event that is named after Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
District Collector Minnie Antony said that the Nehru Trophy Boat Race this year would see the presence of many VIPs, including Gandhi, apart from thousands of tourists.
Antony said, “Others who will be present include union ministers Ambika Soni, Kumari Selja, Shashi Tharoor. And in all probability Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi would also be with Sonia Gandhi.”
Tomy Pulikattil, a member of the organising committee that conducts the race, said this is the first time that the event would see such an impressive list of dignitaries.
Pulikattil said, “We have had a meeting and the security would be very high. We are delighted that over the years lot of importance has been given to this event, which now has become an internationally acclaimed one.”
Gandhi is likely to reach here by helicopter from Kochi and would leave immediately after the event at around 6 p.m.
This event commemorates former Prime Minister Nehrus visit to the state in 1952 when a pageantry of boats accompanied him on his trip from Kottayam to Alappuzha.
The first race was conducted impromptu at that time in his honour. Nehru, thrilled by the performance of the oarsmen, jumped into a snake boat disregarding security arrangements and protocol. The boat proceeded to the jetty with him on board.