Growing up, never imagined that village boy like me would occupy highest post in nation: Kovind

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Lucknow/Kanpur Dehat, Jun 27 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said he had never imagined that an ordinary village boy like him would have the honour of occupying the highest post in the country, and thanked the people of his birth place for this.

He was addressing a gathering at the Paraunkh village, which is his birthplace, in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted that in a rare emotional gesture, after landing at the helipad near his village, Kovind bowed and touched the soil to pay obeisance to the land of his birth.

This is the first time the president is visiting his village after taking over his present assignment. Though he desired to visit the place earlier, plans could not materialise because of the pandemic, an official statement had earlier said.

'I had never imagined, even in my dreams, that an ordinary village boy like me would have the honour of occupying the highest post in the country. But, our democratic system made this possible,' Kovind said.

'Wherever I have reached today, the credit goes to the soil of this village, this region, and to your love and blessings,' he said.

The president paid tributes to B R Ambedkar, makers of the Constitution and freedom fighters. He also visited Milan Kendra and Veerangana Jhalkari Bai Inter College and addressed a Jan Sambodhan Samaroh.

'According to my family's 'sanskaar' (values), the oldest woman in the village is given the status of mother and the oldest man is given the status of father, irrespective of caste or community. Today, I feel happy that this tradition of giving respect to the elders in our family is still continuing,' Kovind said.

He said that the scent of soil of the village and the memories of its residents always remain etched in his heart. 'For me Paraunkh is not only a village, it is my 'maatribhoomi' (motherland) from where I get inspiration to serve the country,' Kovind said.

'This inspiration has made me reach from high court to the Supreme Court to the Rajya Sabha. From the Rajya Sabha, I moved to the Raj Bhavan and from there to the Rashtrapati Bhavan,' the president said.

Kovind also recited a Sanskrit phrase to highlight the pride of ''janmabhoomi'' (place of birth), and said, 'The pride of a mother who gives birth (to a child) and the 'janmabhoomi' is greater than heaven.' He said that as he was quite late in his visit this time and he will try not to delay it so much next time.

The president said all people are from equal backgrounds. 'There have been a number of prime ministers from UP, but this is the first time that the state has given a president to the country. Now, the path for the people of UP to become president has also opened up,' he said.

The president said that an attempt is being made to promote fitness during the Covid period. 'Get yourself vaccinated and inspire others as well. I will personally arrange for villagers to see the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You people can come and see it,' he said.

He praised Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for taking effective steps to handle COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

'Pucca' houses have been built in the village and it is nice to see the Rohaniya market, the president said, adding that he misses his classmates Jaswant Singh, Chandrabhan Singh, Dashrath Singh.

Kovind on Sunday morning reached Paraunkh village where he was welcomed by Patel, and Adityanath. He took a round of the village along with them.

Kovind, along with his wife and daughter, also visited the Pathri Devi temple where they offered prayers.

While delivering a welcome speech, the governor said that the president did a lot of work for the Scheduled Castes and always stayed away from disputes.

He is quite knowledgeable about parliamentary traditions and has struggled for downtrodden people all his life. He has done a lot of work for the development of the area in tribal villages, she added.

On the occasion, Adityanath said, 'India's ancient traditions lead us onwards with self-reliance and discipline, and give us a specific identity in the world. It is said that there is no substitute for a mother and motherland, I have also come to this village for the first time.' 'Our current president is a resident of Kanpur Dehat and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's parliamentary seat is Varanasi. It is our honour that we have made some plans for the development of president's ancestral village,' Adityanath said and announced that a medical college will be constructed in Kanpur Dehat.

On Monday, the president will board a train at Kanpur Central railway station to reach Lucknow for his two-day visit to the state capital. On June 29, he will return to New Delhi on a special flight. PTI CORR/NAV AAR AAR

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