BHUBANESWAR: Amid the absence of opposition Congress and BJP, the Odisha Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, on the legendary leader and former chief minister Biju Patnaik.
In the resolution, it was also passed for installation of Biju Patnaik’s statue in Parliament and observation of birth centenary of the legendary leader by the centre.
The state will observe the birth centenary of Biju Patnaik in the coming year.
The ruling BJD members on Tuesday urged Speaker Niranjan Pujari that the house passes a resolution to press the centre for conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik and install his portrait in the Parliament.
A motion moved by government Chief Whip Ananta Das on the “Role of legendary Biju Patnaik during freedom struggle and nation-building after Independence.”
Describing Biju Patnaik as a visionary leader, senior BJD leader Bed Prakash Agarwal, who worked as finance minister under him during his second stint as chief minister from 1990-95, said Patnaik’s contribution in nation building is immeasurable.
Agarwal said he was the founding father of industrialisation in the State.
The senior BJD leader said the financial condition of the State was a total mess when Biju Babu took over the reins in 1990. As finance minister, he had to take some harsh fiscal compression measures to bring back the State’s economy on the rail.
Debasis Nayak, who worked as secretary to Biju Patnaik after he lost the election in 1995, said: “It hardly matters for a great leader like Biju Patnaik whether you (NDA government) confer Bharat Ratna on him or not.”
“He is the ‘Prithvi Ratna’. Biju Babu is much above those awards. He lives in hearts of millions of people across the globe,” Nayak said adding national flags of 3 countries – India, Indonesia and Russia were wrapped on his body.
Sharing his experience, Nayak said Patnaik used to bear education expenses of at least 600 poor students.
“I have met one such person from Uttar Pradesh, who became a Divisional Railway Manager,” Nayak said.
Industry Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said Biju Patnaik was the man behind the industrial progress of the State. Rourkela Steel Plant, Paradip Port, Express Highway and many other things could be possible due to his endeavours to see rapid progress of Odisha.
Stating that Biju Babu had made a significant contribution to the development of education in the State, Mishra said the Regional Engineering College (now NIT) at Rourkela and the Odisha University of Agriculture and University (OUAT) were possible.