Congress president Sonia Gandhi has conveyed to the ministry of external affairs that she would go to Johannesburg to represent the Congress party to pay homage to Nelson Mandela. Sources said while the prime minister Manmohan Singh is keen to attend the funeral, his engagements in the parliament session and the impending visit of Afghan president Hamid Karzai is holding him back.
Gandhi will lead a party delegation but as of now it is not sure which event she will attend. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, while the funeral is on Saturday.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that president Pranab Mukherjee is likely to represent India in the funeral of iconic leader on December 15. It is learnt that a proposal to this effect has been sent to the president for approval. The state funeral will be held in Mandela’s childhood home, Qunu village in the Eastern Cape.
Reports from Johannesburg said South Africa has began preparations to host leaders from across the world set to converge on the country to pay respect to Mandela during events to be held in coming days. —With agency inputs