Cautioning against the forces of radicalism and extremism, President Ram Nath Kovind today said West Bengal, being a border state, must guard against them. Kovind said that Bengal has been central to the country's national identity.
Cautioning against the forces of radicalism and extremism, President Ram Nath Kovind today said West Bengal, being a border state, must guard against them. “Being a border state gives Bengal certain advantages. It also gives it certain responsibilities. Forces of radicalism and extremism, some of them with cross-border linkages, seek to take advantage of our democratic spaces. We must guard against this,” he said at a civic reception by the state government at the Netaji Indoor Stadium where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felicitated him. Kovind is on a two-day visit to the state from today, his first since assuming office. Referring to the Centre’s Act East Policy, the president said that West Bengal is crucial to the programme which is beneficial for the eastern and north eastern states as well as the neighbouring countries. “The ambitious Act East Policy embarked upon by the government of India involves building connectivity projects and taking economic initiatives. These would be of mutual benefits to the eastern and north eastern states as well as to neighbouring countries. The people of Bengal are crucial to this programme,” he said. Recalling the state’s contribution to the freedom struggle, he said that Bengal was in its forefront. With the country scheduled to celebrate 75 years of freedom in 2022, Bengal should lead in the effort for a “better India”. “In 2022, India will be celebrating 75 years as a free country. This will be an occasion to reach certain developmental milestones for our people, and to create a better India. For this, we need to invoke the same idealism and fervour that contributed to our freedom movement,” he said.
Kovind said that Bengal has been central to the country’s national identity. “Our national anthem Jana Gana Mana was written on the soil of Bengal by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore … Bengal has a great history – but it is for each one of us to ensure that Bengal also has a great future.” The state was an industrial and manufacturing centre in the country. Its economy must “sing again” in this age of digital and robotic technologies. “Its green fields and hard-working farmers must be equipped with the latest agricultural knowledge to allow them to realise their potential,” the president said.
Thanking the state government for organising the programme, Kovind said that he was not a stranger to Bengal. “I have been visiting the state and I have been coming to Kolkata for decades now. I would say I have long been an admirer of Bengal and its culture and history.” Thanking the President for visiting the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “We are touched. The President’s post is the highest post in the country. We want you to be our friend, philosopher, guide and advisor.”