As Draupadi Murmu, National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Presidential candidate, reaches Guwahati to seek support from MLAs of the Mitro Joth Sarkar on July 6, 300km away from the capital, Rukmini Kisan Borkotoky awaits her call.
In 2006, Borkotoky, a young grassroots Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker from the tea garden community, had met then MLA from Odisha Murmu in Bishwanath.
“She had come to campaign for Diganta Ghatowar, the BJP candidate. The district BJP officer-bearers introduced me to Murmu madam. She was an MLA from Mayuganj in Rairangpur district of Odisha. I stayed with her for seven days. We travelled in the same car with no security. There was disturbance in Assam as we moved into the interior of Bishwanath, along the Arunachal border. We stopped by the roadside tea stalls for morning and evening snacks as we went to Majuli and Pratapgarh. She is extremely simple and very organised. We stayed in the same room. She is an early riser, however, she used to wake me up after finishing her morning workout. She was like my elder sister advising me on life and the way of living. I introduced her to Pallab Lochan Das, BJP MP, who was a young student leader. He invited madam and me for dinner,” reminisced Borkotoky.
“Once I took her to a restaurant as she was our guest. She asked me if I wanted to make her ill by feeding her such oily food. After that, we never had food in restaurants,” she said.
Murmu did not forget her young friend from Assam much later when she became the Governor of Jharkhand.
“She remembers me and calls me at times. She had asked me to visit Jharkhand when she was the Governor. She even asked me for our pictures from 2006. A few days ago, someone from Odisha called me to inform that madam will be in Assam. They said they would inform me. If I get a call, I will go to Guwahati to meet her. Once she becomes the President, it will be difficult to see her,” said Borkotoky.
Murmu will arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport in Guwahati at 8.30 pm on Tuesday. The NDA candidate will be received at the airport by Water Resources, Information and Public Relations Minister Pijush Hazarika.
Over the next two days, Murmu will be in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya to muster support for the July 18 presidential election.
She will head to Itanagar on Wednesday morning. From there, she will head towards Meghalaya’s Shillong.
On July 7, she will campaign in Guwahati and hold discussions with MLAs of political parties supporting the BJP government. “She is the pride of the women of the country. She represents us, our strength and capabilities,” said Borkotoky.