Bihar Assembly celebration: Kovind lauds Prohibition, recalls his ties to state
President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said the centenary celebration of the Bihar Legislative Assembly building was a historic occasion for more than one reason, as it had also coincided with India crossing the 100-crore mark in Covid-19 vaccine jabs.
“Bihar is known for scripting history and today history has been scripted,” he said, while speaking at the centenary celebrations of the Bihar Legislative Assembly building, which had hosted the inaugural session of the joint Bihar and Orissa Provincial Council on February 7, 1921.
Responding to chief minister Nitish Kumar’s remarks about his old Bihar ties since his stint as Governor, from where he was straightaway elevated to the country’s top position, Kovind said visiting Bihar always felt like homecoming and that he felt proud on being referred to as Bihari, as after the first President Dr Rajendra Prasad and former President Zakir Hussain, he had got the responsibility to take the rich legacy forward and got a lot of love and respect from the people.
“It is not just my ties as the Governor of Bihar, but also because of the Buddhist connection and the contributions I made for the Vipassana Centre. I am happy that Nitish Kumar, the longest serving CM of Bihar since independence, took it forward. Buddha got enlightenment here. Bihar is a land of knowledge and world’s first democracy. There have always been special blessings on me in the land of Buddha, Mahavir and Guru Gobind Singh,” he said.
Conveying his greetings to the people in the festive season, he said how Chhath was now being worshipped from Nawada to New Jersey and from Begusarai to Boston. “This is a proof that the industrious people associated with the culture of Bihar have made their place on the world stage,” he said.
Referring to the ban on sale and consumption of liquor in Bihar since 2016, the President cited Governor S P Sinha’s address to the Legislative Assembly of 1921, when the latter said there should be a definite policy to prohibit the production and sale of intoxicating substances or liquor.
“In our Constitution, the duty of the State to improve public health is clearly mentioned under the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’. This includes prohibition of consumption of liquor and substances injurious to health. By giving this a status of law, the Bihar assembly has taken a very good step in the interest of public health and society, especially in the favour of women from weaker sections,” Kovind said.
He also laid the foundation stone for Shatabdi Smriti Stambh and planted a sapling of Mahabodhi Tree in the premises of Bihar Legislative Assembly on the occasion. “The enthusiastic presence of present as well as former members of Bihar legislature is a good example of the healthy parliamentary tradition developed in our country,” he added.
The President also hailed the personalities from Bihar played in the Constituent Assembly — Dr Sachchidananda Sinha, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Shri Krishna Sinha, Maharaja Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga, Shyam Nandan Sahay, Satyanarayan Sinha, Babu Jagjivan Ram, among others.
Kovind also lauded the state’s resolves, cited by Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha in his address, to keep Bihar free of social problems.
Earlier, Sinha thanked the President for sparing time for the function and narrated the rich legacy of the Bihar Legislature and the way it had evolved over the years. “It has been witness to landmark legislations and scholarly debates. Now it has adapted to the digital era with online questions & answers and webcasting,” the Speaker said.
In his speech, CM Kumar said, “We consider the President as our very own and we are happy to find him in our midst. I want that all government employees should attend the Vipassana Centre, and the government will grant 15-day leave to them. I am confident the Speaker will also try to bring the Prime Minister to this centenary function,” he said.