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To the rest of the world he is Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, but for this small town of Bakhtiyarpur he is just 'Munna'.
The town, 55 km from state capital Patna, gave a rousing welcome when its son arrived here a day after assuming charge of the state.
Kumar, accompanied by his teacher wife Manju Kumari Sinha and son Nishant, was greeted by a delirious crowd beating drums and shouting 'Nitish Kumar zindabad'.
Kumar, who visited his home for the first time after becoming chief minister, went straight to his brother Satish Kumar's house to seek the blessings of his mother Parmeshwari Devi. "Maa ke ashirwad mein badi shakti hoti hai. Main woh lene aaya hoon. (there is great strength in mother's blessings and have come to receive it)," Kumar said after his nonagenarian mother held him in tight embrace, her eyes filled with tears and heart with pride. "Deerghayu Howa (may you live long)" Parmeshwari Devi blessed her son in Magahi, the local dialect.
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Thousands of people had gathered on the streets since early morning as the news came that 'Munnaji' was coming home. Asked how he felt at being here, Kumar shot back asking "Aapko kaisa lagega apnon ke beech aane mein"? Bahut achcha lag Raha Hai. (How do you feel being among your own people? It feels great)".
A beaming Satish Kumar, and an ayurvedic doctor, was seen welcoming guests and distributing laddus. Nitish Kumar came out on the balcony of the house waving to his "very own people" who showered flower petals and marigold garlands on him.
Nitish's friend since childhood, Shivnath Singh alias Judge Saheb, who had played an important role in his marriage to Manju, said ''people have great hopes and I am confident that Munnaji will not not let them down".
"He is a man of convictions. He turned down Karpoor Thakur's offer of appointing him an engineer with the Bihar government after his two successive losses in assembly elections but he refused as destiny willed that he should lead Bihar", he says.
Recalling fond memories of their childhood, Judge Saheb said neither Nitish Kumar nor his brother added a single brick to the house built by their father, also an ayurveda practitioner, Kaviraj Ramlakhan Singh in which the chief minister's mother lives with her elder son and his family.
"Pahile maiya kaha halai ab Munna hamra maa ji kaha hai. Bhagwan ke ashirwad hai (He used to call me maiya earlier but now he addresses me as ma ji. May god bless him)", said a visibly elated Parmeshwari Devi after Nitish Kumar, who had spoken to her on phone after being sworn in as chief minister, touched her feet.
She did not forget to recall her son's friendship with Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad. "Bahut beri Lalu ke bhi yehan khana khilaili, dunu dost halo. (I fed Lalu several times here, both were friends)", she reminisced.
She, however, had a complaint that her 'Munna' does not eat properly. "Ekra bhookh na laga hai. Ekra mithai khilawa. (He does not not feel hungry. Give him sweets)", she told her elder daughter-in-law, who happily obliged. Later 'Munnaji' left for his native village Kalyanbigha along with his wife and son.
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