Ruling BJD’s Biju Legacy: Reap Political Dividend Pushing Aside Odisha Freedom Fighters


The BJD led Odisha government is sparing no opportunity to remind people about the Biju legacy. It has named several schemes after the former chief minister. It is also pressing hard to confer Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik, even though Odisha has many legends who have contributed immensely to create a modern Odisha.   [divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

Kautilya Chandrakanta

BHUBANESWAR: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will be celebrating the birth anniversary of former chief minister Biju Patnaik, after whom the party has been named. It has decided to celebrate the year-long birth centenary of the legendary leader at state as well as the national levels starting from March 5.

The Naveen Patnaik government is sparing no opportunity to remind people of the legacy of the former chief minister, who is credited for perking up the growth of Odisha. And, Naveen Patnaik, the able son of Biju Patnaik, is fulfilling the dreams of his father for the last 16 years as the chief minister of Odisha.

Acknowledging the contributions of the legendary leader, the Naveen Patnaik government is naming schemes after schemes after Biju Patnaik. It has named several schemes, including ‘Biju Pucca Ghar’, ‘Biju Gaon Gadi Yojana’, ‘Biju Setu Yojana’, ‘Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana’, ‘Biju Krushak Vikash Yojana’, ‘Biju Gram Jyoti Yojana’, ‘Biju KBK Yojana’, ‘Biju Kandhamal Yojana’, ‘Biju Gajapati Yojana’, ‘Biju Saharanchal Bidyutikaran Yojana’, ‘Biju Yuva Sasaktikaran Yojana’, ‘Biju Grameen Bazaar Yojana’ and ‘Biju Swasthyasivir Yojana’, etc.

The government has also launched several awards after the legendary leader, including ‘Biju Patnaik Sports Award’, ‘Biju Patnaik Bravery Award’, ‘Biju Patnaik Award for Wildlife Conservation’, and ‘Biju Patnaik Award for Scientific Excellence’.

Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik
Pic Source: youtube

The state government has also been pressing hard before the union government to accord Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, to Biju Patnaik, a pilot-turned-freedom fighter, who ruled the state for two terms.
No one denies the contributions of Biju Patnaik, and his achievements should be acknowledged. But in the process, the Naveen Patnaik government has ignored the freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the country and fought for the self-esteem of the Odia community and its culture, tradition and literature.

Odisha is the soil of many illustrious persons that include Fakir Mohan Senapati, Utkal Gourab Madhusudan Das, Pandit Gopabandhu Das, Nilakantha Das, Biswanath Das, Gajapati Krushnachandra Dev, Raja Artatrana Deo, Chandrasekhar Behera, Nandini Satpathy, Harekrushna Mahatab, Santha Kabi Bhima Bhoi, Veer Surendra Sai, Nilamani Routray, Nabakrushna Choudhury, Ramadevi, Pranakrushna Parija, Radhanath Rath, Gangadhar Meher, etc.

Why should not Bharat Ratna be conferred on legends like Madhusudan Das, Gopabandhu Das and Ramadevi? Are they not worth it? Why is the state government not interested?

But, the state government only concentrated on Biju Patnaik to gain political mileage ignoring all the towering personalities. Forget naming schemes after the eminent personalities; the BJD hardly observes the birth and death anniversaries of the legends. What the government has done is only the installation of statues of some renowned leaders in the state capital and some other places.

Ironically, the ruling BJD has four sons of former chief ministers in its fold, and they never raised the issue even as the opposition parties Congress and BJP are paying tributes to the great souls.

While BJD MP Tathagat Satpahty is the son of former chief minister Nandini Satpathy, another MP Bhartruhari Mahtab is the son of Harekrushna Mahtab and Rajya Sabha member Anang Uday Singhdeo is the son of former chief minister RN Singhdeo. Odisha revenue minister Bijayshree Routray is the son of former chief minister Nilamani Routray.

Interestingly, when the state government excluded the name of Harekrushna Mahtab from the list of eminent personalities on its official website, it was Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who has recently demanded inclusion of the leader, not Bhartruhari Mahtab.

The state government has included the names and contributions of only 11 legends instead of more number of illustrious persons who have devoted and sacrificed their lives for the people of the state.

The chief minister is trying to prove that it is Biju Patnaik, who has contributed towards the growth of the state that many see as a political gimmick.

Recently, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state to inaugurate oil refinery of Indian Oil Corporation at Paradip, Naveen Patnaik’s speech only confined to the contribution of Biju Patnaik for industrial growth in the state. But, the Prime Minister reminded us the contribution of several freedom fighters and political leaders.

The ruling BJD should refrain from taking political mileage from Biju legacy and stop attempting to belittle the towering persons of the state.