When the country’s first citizen mingles with you like any other commoner, it is bound to catch attention. This is exactly what happened on Tuesday when President Ram Nath Kovind took a walk at the iconic Mall Road in Shimla, visited a restaurant run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and made payments through his credit card there. A video which has gone viral shows Kovind purchasing a few books for his grandchildren from a bookshop in the hill town.
Kovind, who is on a six-day visit to Himachal Pradesh, chiefly Shimla, spoke during a civic reception hosted by the state government at Peterhoff in Shimla. On his return from Peterhoff, Kovind and his wife Sarita visited Ashiana restaurant and had tea and snacks there, officials said. A large number of people gathered around the restaurant to see the President, who greeted them and also paid the bill. The President’s motorcade was parked on the Ridge road. The staff at the restaurant was overwhelmed by the surprise visit and by the President’s gesture to pay the bill. The restaurant’s manager said it was an honour to have the President as a guest.
WATCH: President Ram Nath Kovind’s day out in Shimla
#WATCH: President Ram Nath Kovind takes a walk at Mall Road in Shimla, purchases books for his grandchildren from a bookshop, later visits a cafeteria and makes all the payments through his credit card, like a normal citizen. pic.twitter.com/Vz5bfHMhkA
— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2018
When the President realised that his motorcade was causing inconvenience to people, President Kovind ordered officials to reduce the number of vehicles from 17 to four. He also took a round of the Mall Road and purchased two books from Minerva Book Shop.
Kovind has underlined that ‘Dev Bhumi’ Himachal Pradesh has proved as a “blessing” for him as he was nominated as the presidential candidate of the NDA, twenty days after he returned from Shimla. Kovind, who was the governor of Bihar then, said he reached the highest office due to “blessings from Dev Bhumi”.
“I have old association with Himachal. I had gone to Kullu-Manali to attend a function for the first time in 1974 and those memories are still alive,” Kovind said, adding that he chose to wear a Himachali cap during the Republic Day celebrations this year. The President also paid tributes to martyrs from the state who laid down their lives for the country, including Ram Singh Pathania, first Paramvir Charka awardee, Major Somnath, Captain Vikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia and Sanjay Kumar. “We can never forget these heroes,” the President said. He also presented a ‘Brick’ to Sanjeev Rana of Bilaspur for construction of Martyr Memorial under ‘Ek Eint Shaheehdon ke Naam’ (one brick in the name of martyrs) programme.