President Hosts Old Friend From Odisha At Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi: It was a meeting of two former parliamentarians and friends when ex-Rajya Sabha Member from Odisha, Birabhadra Singh, called on President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Birabhadra was accompanied by his family members when he met the President at the latter’s invitation earlier this month.

According to Rashtrapati Bhavan sources, the two had a freewheeling discussion on their days together at Rajya Sabha between 2000 and 2006.

The two also talked about development of Mayurbhanj district with the former Odisha MP inviting the President to visit the district, the sources said.

Earlier on December 8 last year, the President had met Birabhadra after a long gap of 12 years during the valedictory ceremony of the platinum jubilee celebration of Utkal University.

While the President was the chief guest at the event, Birabhadra attended it as an alumnus. He did his Masters in Political Science from the varsity in 1965-67.

The 74-year-old had earlier expressed his desire to meet the President and offer him a rose. His request, however, was turned down due to security protocol.

According to those present, Kovind recognised Birabhadra in the audience from his white turban and asked Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to call him to the dais after the programme ended.

The two exchanged pleasantries and later the President was seen taking photographs with his former Rajya Sabha colleague. He even invited him to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“We were members of SC/ST Parliamentary Standing Committee and worked closely at least for two years. After my Rajya Sabha tenure, we lost touch. I am amazed that he could still remember me, although we had not met for almost 12 years,” said Birabhadra, a close associate of Biju Patnaik.

A three time MLA from Mayurbhanj district, he had political stints with Jana Congress, Janata Party and Janata Dal.

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