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Great state, I am honoured: Clinton

Express News Service

Posted: Sep 08, 2005 at 0408 hrs IST

Former US President Bill Clinton arrived here today with a promise that gave Lucknow a reason to smile: he will do all he can to improve life in India’s most populous state.

Amid the glitter of chandeliers and riot of royal colour, amid the country’s who’s who, Clinton drew cheers as he said, ‘‘I am very honoured that I have been invited here to work for HIV/AIDS. I am honoured that I have the opportunity to work for the socio-economic development of this great state.’’

Clinton’s dinner with CM Mulayam Singh Yadav at the latter’s residence was an event that drew all the big guns—from Anil Ambani, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Subroto Roy, S Bangarappa to Sant Singh Chatwal and several media personalities.

5 Kalidas Marg, the CM’s official residence, resembled a Nawabi mansion. The hall where Clinton and his entourage were treated to a unique fusion of Indian and western music, liquors and liqueurs, champagne and whiskies, had a touch of the royal—brass vessels, goblets of wine, waiters in Lucknowi kurtas carrying life-size trays, kebabs and fish.

Amitabh, in a pre-recorded clip, introduced UP as ‘‘a State that has something to offer to everyone, the State of the Taj Mahal, of the Ganges and of the Yamuna... a world in itself.’’

Clinton added his own bit. ‘‘I am particularly impressed by this Chief Minister who has held people of all religions together,’’ he said, praising Mulayam and the ‘‘world’s sixth biggest country’’—UP—for its economic growth, jobs, education and modern healthcare.

And Mulayam was equally generous in his welcome address, saying Clinton was not just a former US president but a man, who by his ‘‘sheer personality won the hearts of millions of people across the world’’.

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