Darjeeling:It was a moment of complimenting each other for President Pranab Mukherjee and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was praised by the Head of State for doing good work in the state.
Speaking at a banquet hosted in his honour, the President showered praises on the functioning of Mamata government in the state, which returned to power with an overwhelming majority in the recently concluded assembly elections.
A bonhomie between the President and Banerjee was also at display in a function here during which Mukherjee recalled his association with the state’s chief minister.
“She is just like my younger sister. We have shared many moments of joy, trouble. Many experiences…We have shared many ideas (through) many years working together. I would simply say you are doing well. Carry on. God bless you,” the President, who is in Darjeeling, said.
Earlier in the function, Banerjee, in traditional style, touched feet of the President and sought his blessings and surprised him when she handed over a copy of a photograph that she had taken.
During the function, the President gave message of unity in diversity in this hill town, which he termed as ‘Mini India’.
“Whenever we look at the map of our country and ponder for a while about India, we are simply mesmerised,” the President said explaining the diversity.
There is a huge diversity in a country with 1.28 billion or 128 crore people, where 100 languages and 1,600 dialects are spoken everyday and people of all the major ethnic groups living under one rule, one flag and one Constitution, Mukherjee said during the ‘State Reception’ hosted in his honour here.
He appreciated the efforts by Banerjee to bring integration among the various ethnic and cultural groups, and providing them the opportunities for their self development.
“Darjeeling is mini India. Truly a Mini India,” the President said at the function which was attended also attended by West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and others.
The President said recent West Bengal Assembly elections demonstrated the strength of Indian democracy and said he was touched by the warmth of reception received from the people of Darjeeling who have assembled despite the cold and rain.
“I am delighted to be in Darjeeling and I am not a guest but one amongst you,” he said.