08 December 2019
Bhubaneswar: President Ram Nath Kovind while attending the closing ceremony of Utkal University's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Bhubaneswar on Sunday proved how down to earth he really is.
After addressing the gathering, which mostly included students and alumni of the varsity, the President recognized a familiar face among them and sought an audience with him. On the insistence of Kovind, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan called for former MP and Cabinet Minister Birabhadra Singh, who was a student of the university from 1965 to 67.
"The President said he recognized me through my turban and would have called my name during his address if had noticed me earlier," said Singh after meeting Kovind. On being asked by the President why he is not visiting Rashtrapati Bhavan, Singh said he will come to meet the former but with a cause. On hearing this Kovind welcomed him for a visit.
Following it, Kovind had a photograph with Birabhadra and also enquired about the health of his wife. Birabhadra answered in the positive but also informed media that he did not think it appropriate at the moment to take his wife with him.
Birabhadra, who is three times MLA and had held different portfolios in the State Government is also known for his social activities which include removal of untouchability from society and fighting against illiteracy among the tribal communities. He had also represented as the Captain of football team, Utkal University.
He was a member of Utkal Congress, Janata Party and Janata Dal; Chairman, ST/SC Welfare Committee, Government of Orissa; Member, Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests; Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Ocean Development and Member, Committee on Defence.