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On Murmu’s first Bihar visit as Prez, Nitish launches charm offensive

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Patna,(PTI):  Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday launched a charm offensive against President Droupadi Murmu and Governor Rajendra Arlekar, about a year after exit from BJP-led NDA left him out of favour with the Centre’s ruling dispensation.

The veteran politician, speaking at the launch of his government’s “Fourth Agriculture Roadmap”, tried to strike a personal chord with Murmu, who was on her maiden tour of the state as the first citizen.

“I have known the honourable President since the days when I was a minister in the Union cabinet headed by late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. She used to approach me with problems in her area which I tried to solve to the best of my ability,” the JD(U) leader.

Notably, Murmu had served as an MLA in Odisha where the BJP had an alliance with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s BJD till it came apart in 2009.

Kumar also made an indirect reference to his party’s support to the candidature of Murmu, who got elected to the top constitutional post less than a month before the JD(U) dumped the BJP, stripping the saffron party of power in Bihar.

Turning towards Murmu, the longest-serving CM of Bihar added, “You will be here for three days during which you will be visiting a number of places. But I would urge you to plan a trip every three to four months. It is not far away from your home state…..it is also the land which gave the country its first President (Rajendra Prasad)”.

During his speech, Kumar, who vowed to dislodge the BJP from power in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls, also reached out to Arlekar, saying, “You may be an appointee of the Centre, but I have nothing against it”.

“I would urge you to travel in the state and see for yourself if the agriculture roadmap unveiled today is being implemented. Feel free to share with me your feedback,” said Kumar, who then used Bihari colloquialism to denote camaraderie.

“Mera batwa maniyega na (would you not agree to my respect)”, asked Kumar, to which Arlekar smilingly nodded in approval.

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