President Kovind meets an old Odisha friend after 13 years
Birabhadra Singh, former tribal MLA of Janata Dal and ex-Rajya Sabha MP of Biju Janata Dal, and contemporary of Kovind in Rajya Sabha between 2000 and 2006, wanted to meet the President who had come to Odisha to attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Utkal University.Updated: Dec 08, 2019 23:38 IST
After a gap of 13 years, President Ramnath Kovind could finally meet his old MP friend from Odisha with whom he had developed a friendship back in 2000.
Birabhadra Singh, former tribal MLA of Janata Dal and ex-Rajya Sabha MP of Biju Janata Dal, and contemporary of Kovind in Rajya Sabha between 2000 and 2006, wanted to meet the President who had come to Odisha to attend the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Utkal University, Odisha’s first university. The 74-year-old Singh had even asked the security officers of the President to allow him to present a rose to Kovind, but the request was rejected.
While Singh, an alumni of Utkal University sat in the audience, the President could recognise from his white turban and immediately wanted to meet him. On the insistence of the President, union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who was seated alongside, called out for Singh.
When Singh reached the dais, both of them exchanged pleasantries. On being asked by the President why he was not visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan, Singh said he would have come to meet the former but with a cause. Kovind then welcomed him for a visit and posed for a photograph with Singh.
“We were very close during our Rajya Sabha days and have discussed many important issues. After my Rajya Sabha tenure we lost touch. I am amused that he remembers me, although we haven’t met for 13 years,” said Singh, a three time MLA from Mayurbhanj district where he worked for removal of untouchability from society and fought against illiteracy among the tribal communities.
A close associate of legendary politician Biju Patnaik, Birabhadra Singh has his political career in Jana Congress, Janata Party and Janata Dal.