Tarunkanti Kanchilal, a man hailing from Ramnagar area under Mahakalpada block in Odisha’s Kendrapara, is yet to come to term with the demise of former President Pranab Mukherjee. Holding in his hand an old photograph from his album, the 44-year-old man remembers the precious moments he spent with the great leader during his visit to Ramnagar in 1999 to see the plights of Super Cyclone affected people.
In 1999, Odisha experienced an unprecedented Super Cyclone that killed over 10,000 people and stripped the state of its greenery and wealth. Pranab Mukherjee served as a Member of Parliament (MP) then. He then visited Kendrapada district for a post-cyclone review and there he met Tarunkanti.
Seated on Tarunkanti’s motor-cycle, the former President visited Ramnagar, Kharinasi, Petachhela and other affected areas in the district. He was in charge of distributing relief in the cyclone-affected areas. That was Tarunkanti’s first encounter with Pranab Mukherjee.
The next meeting between the two happened in 2013 at Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar when Pranab Mukherjee visited Odisha as the President of India. On Mukherjee’s command, Tarunkanti was invited to the Raj Bhavan and so he reached there with coconuts as a token of love for the former.
Later, in the consecutive years of 2014 and 2015, Tarunkanti had met Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
On the demise of the former President, Tarunkanti, who held immense affection and respect for him, said he lost a father-figure from his life....