CM Urges PM to Confer Highest Civilian Award to Dr. Lohia

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar while launching a website on Lohia in 2012.

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Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose reputation as an able administrator lately has taken a huge beating in the aftermath of his fixation with holding cultural, social and religious mega events at the cost of economic and infrastructural development, on Sunday, wrote a three-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to confer Bharat Ratna Award to veteran socialist leader Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia.

Reminding the Prime Minister of Lohia's contribution in nation building including his role in the freedom movement, his lifelong commitment towards social justice, and his role in the liberation of Goa, Kumar, who is on a spree honoring leaders from the past and celebrating anniversaries of historical events like the creation of the state of Bihar, said that it was only appropriate to honor this great leader with the nation's highest civil award of Bharat Ratna.

The Chief Minister also urged Modi to re-name Goa International Airport to Ram Manohar Lohia International Airport in memory of the socialist leader.

"I hope the PM will take necessary steps in this direction and will confer Bharat Ratna award to this great man and freedom fighter on his death anniversary on October 12," Kumar reportedly wrote in his letter.

What prompted Kumar to write this letter to the PM at this particular time is not clear though insiders say the Chief Minister, with an eye on the next Parliamentary and state polls, is concerned about his dipping favorability in the state and by standing up for noted freedom fighters and other prominent historical figures, he was essentially trying to put himself in the same category as socialists like Lohia, Jaya Prakash Narayan, and Karpoori Thakur.

Incidentally, a website called www.lohiavani.com that Kumar inaugurated amidst much fanfare on July 7, 2012 to promote the ideals of Dr. Lohia has long been abandoned and gone dead like a number of other such websites introduced by the Bihar government in the past.

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