NAGPUR: Nagpur, with its mix of infrastructure and culture, has the potential to become the centre of development of the country, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday. The President, who was on a day-long tour of Nagpur on Friday, visited Deekshabhoomi, where Dr. B.R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism with lakhs of his followers in 1956. Mr. Kovind also inaugurated the Suresh Bhat Natya Sabhagrah and a vipassana meditation centre at the Dragon Palace Temple complex in Kamptee area on the outskirts of Nagpur. This was his first visit to Maharashtra after assuming the office of President. “Maharashtra is the karmabhoomi of many revolutionaries, social reformers, and saints. The list of great social and political leaders produced by the State is a long one. Maharashtra was one of the main centres of the freedom struggle. Many important chapters of the freedom movement, including the Quit India movement of 1942, were written in Maharashtra. Mahatma Gandhi regarded Gopal Krishna Gokhale as his guru, and made Wardha his workplace,” Mr. Kovind said at the inauguration of the Suresh Bhat Natya Sabhagrah. He added, “Maharashtra is not only a hub of industry and business of the country, but that of its culture and art as well. Mumbai is described as the economic capital of India. By linking its heritage of education and culture with trade and technology, Maharashtra is giving strength to the entire country in the 21st century. In the quest for development and economic change, we have to take care to keep our cultural moorings intact. In this context, Maharashtra is setting an example for the nation.” He appreciated “the rapid development of modern infrastructure in Nagpur”. “The Zero Mile Nagpur, traditionally regarded the geographical centre of the country, has the potential to become the centre of development of India as well,” the President said. Earlier, at the inauguration of the vipassana centre, Mr. Kovind called vipassana an effective way to cleanse our mind and body. He said the ideals of Buddhist philosophy were reflected in the Constitution.