Shimla, May 22 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind today said 'Dev Bhumi' Himachal Pradesh has proved as a "blessing" for him as he was nominated as the presidential candidate of the NDA, twenty days after he returned from Shimla.

Kovind, who was the governor of Bihar then, said he reached the highest office due to "blessings from Dev Bhumi".

Speaking at a civic reception hosted by the Himachal Pradesh government at Peterhoff here, he noted that Rashtrapati Bhawan was the symbol of democracy.

He also asked the Himachalis to make it a point to visit the president's official residence whenever they come to Delhi.

“I have old association with Himachal. I had gone to Kullu-Manali to attend a function for the first time in 1974 and those memories are still alive," Kovind said, adding that he chose to wear a Himachali cap during the Republic Day celebrations this year.

The president also paid tributes to martyrs from the state who laid down their lives for the country, including Ram Singh Pathania, first Paramvir Charka awardee, Major Somnath, Captain Vikram Batra, Saurabh Kalia and Sanjay Kumar.

“We can never forget these heroes," the president said.

He presented a 'Brick' to Sanjeev Rana of Bilaspur for construction of Martyr Memorial under 'Ek Eint Shaheehdon ke Naam' (one brick in the name of martyrs) programme.



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