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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Not Narendra Modi, but convocation gowns giving Nitish Kumar a headache

PTI  Patna, October 27, 2013
First Published: 13:09 IST(27/10/2013) | Last Updated: 13:40 IST(27/10/2013)

What’s bothering Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar? No, it’s not his bete noire Narendra Modi. As all eyes are set on Kumar ahead of BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi's Hunkar rally in Patna on Sunday, it's the "heavily-loaded" convocation gown that the Bihar chief minister finds stifling.

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Kumar had dumped the BJP in June this year, his ally for 17 years, solely for promoting his Gujarat counterpart as the electoral face of the party.

On Saturday, he urged President Pranab Mukherjee to end the tradition of wearing gowns at convocations of educational institutions. "You have done away with many an unwarranted customs of the past after becoming President of the country. Considering this, I wish to request you to order an end to wearing gowns which is heavily loaded on occasions like convocations," Kumar urged the President.

Kumar made the request at the second convocation of IIT Patna, where the President himself, governor D Y Patil, faculty members and students of the institute were in the traditional academic regalia.

He suggested providing caps in place of gown which students could fly in the air in jubilation on such occasions and the President, who was wearing a red gown, looked at him with a smile on his face. Students, who were present on the occasion, greeted the suggestion with a thunderous applause.

Mukherjee after assuming office last year had ordered to end use of colonial era words like ‘His Excellency’ used for addressing state dignitaries.

He had also directed authorities to organise government functions for him within the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises in order to reduce the burden on police and the inconvenience caused to people.


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