The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Orchid with Gandhi hue

Gangtok, Sept. 26: Little Miraya Vadra Gandhi, the granddaughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has an orchid named after her.

From now on, Brasso laelio cattleya (BLC), the hybrid orchid of Sikkim, will be called BLC Miraya.

The naming ceremony was held at Old Sikkim House at Chanakyapuri in New Delhi today, which was followed by a flower show, showcasing the flora of the hill state.

Sonia and her daughter Priyanka Vadra Gandhi, who were present at the programme, were received by Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling and his wife Tikamaya.

The hybrid owes its origin to K.C. Pradhan, the former chief secretary, who is an orchid expert and a conservationist, bred it at his nurseries at Wayside in Tadong here.

Calling the programme a success, state agriculture and horticulture minister Somnath Poudyal told The Telegraph that the effort was highly appreciated by the Congress chairperson. “We are grateful that Madam could set aside some time to grace the occasion and we would like to thank her for her presence, which is sure to boost Sikkim’s efforts in developing floriculture,” Poudyal said.

According to Poudyal, with the new plant released in New Delhi, orchids of Sikkim will be popularised at the national level.

“The programme itself was a big achievement for Sikkim and was an attempt to put the state on the floriculture map of the country,” the state agriculture and horticulture minister said.

Earlier in 2003, another hybrid orchid was named after the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his visit to Sikkim.

When asked to suggest a name for a second orchid, a Dendrobium hybrid, Vajpayee named it Kalpana Chawla after the Indian astronaut who was killed in the Columbia incident. Both the orchids were grown by K.C. Pradhan and his son Sailesh.

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