| Legislative Council chairman Awadhesh Narayan Singh presents a bouquet to chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Patna, Dec. 12: Almost a month after he went to Pakistan on a week-long goodwill journey, chief minister Nitish Kumar today tried to highlight the state’s connect with the neighbouring country at his first speech on the issue in the annexe building of the Bihar Legislative Council.
“The governor of Sindh told me that his wife is from Patna’s Sabjibag Mohalla,” Nitish told the audience, adding that the maximum number of Biharis was found in Karachi after Patna.
“Formalities used to vanish within minutes and everybody talked in an informal way there. It reflects the warmth they felt for the Indians because of their common heritage and history,” he told the audience consisting of legislators, politicians and officials.
During his 90-minute speech, which was largely based on his experiences in Pakistan, Nitish said his ultimate joy was planting a banyan tree at Takshila, one of the oldest seats of learning after the one that exists in Nalanda, his home district.
“We will not exist for ever. But the monument of Takshila will exist,” he said.
“Pakistan Medical Association had a meeting with us and its members talked about the maternal mortality rate (Bihar has scripted a success story in reduction of the mortality rate ),” Nitish said, adding that health officials of the neighbouring country had also showed interest in Bihar’s polio eradication scheme. He emphasised that no fresh polio case had been reported in the state for the past two years.
Nitish also recalled his discussion with cricket icon and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan. “I do not want to boast about myself. But Imran Khan said the Bihar governance suited underdeveloped states,” he said, adding that the cricketer-turned-politician has started posting the property of his party members on the Web.
The chief minister also recalled the experience of his journey to Karachi , Mohenjo Daro, Islamabad and Lahore and to Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh shrines in Pakistan.
“There should be no misgiving that these monuments are not well preserved and nobody gives any information about the structures. After all, the religious beliefs associated with the shrines were explained to me by Pakistani authorities,” he said, describing his visit to the neighbouring country as “satisfying”.