In President's R-Day Eve Address, Praise For Ram Temple, Karpoori Thakur

"This is a period of epochal change," President Murmu said in the televised address on the eve of the 75th Republic Day

Republic Day: President Droupadi Murmu today addresses the nation

New Delhi:

President Droupadi Murmu today addressed the nation on the eve of the 75th Republic Day. "This is a period of epochal change," President Murmu said in the televised address.

She acknowledged the contribution to society by former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur, and also pointed to the consecration of the Ram Lalla temple in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya as a historic and an immensely significant moment for the country.

"I pay my tribute to Karpoori ji for enriching public life with his contribution," the President said.

Karpoori Thakur, the two-term Bihar Chief Minister who died in 1988, has been named for the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna for his contribution to uplifting the poor and backward classes. During his political career, Karpoori Thakur was considered the guiding light of Other Backward Classes (OBC) politics in Bihar.

"Karpoori ji belonged to the backward classes and dedicated his life for their welfare," President Murmur said.

Soon after the announcement by the Centre, villagers of the 'Karpoori gram' in Bihar's Samastipur district had met the family members of Karpoori Thakur and his elder son Ramnath Thakur, the Rajya Sabha MP from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) or JD(U).

Senior JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar had said Nitish Kumar had been requesting the Centre to honour Karpoori Thakur with the Bharat Ratna. "Although it came late, it is a welcome decision and will inspire the youth to take up his ideals," Neeraj Kumar had said.

As for Nitish Kumar, all indication point towards him leaving the newly formed Opposition bloc INDIA. The Bihar Chief Minister will not join Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra when it enters the state on January 30, sources said today.

Nitish Kumar is, however, likely to share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the Prime Minister visits Bihar to campaign for the BJP, ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

With the decision to not walk with Mr Gandhi, the Bihar Chief Minister whose Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), which is an ally of Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the ruling Bihar government, has given a subtle message that all is not well within the INDIA bloc.