BHUBANESWAR: Vice-President M Hamid Ansari on Sunday described Biju Patnaik as a man of unimpeachable integrity and a nationalist.
“A true nationalist and still the interests of Odisha were always close to his heart,” he said while addressing the birth centenary celebrations of Biju Patnaik at New Delhi.
“He actively joined the Quit India Movement in 1942 and collaborated with the underground leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan, Aruna Asif Ali and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, even while in British service. Biju Patnaik was eventually caught and imprisoned by the British Government for three years,” the Vice-President said.
Ansari said there was a generation of leaders who played a role across national borders in service of good causes and Biju Patnaik was one such leader. His international profile was such that in a rare occurrence, national flags of three nations - India, Indonesia and the USSR were draped on his body at his funeral, he added.
Stating that Biju Patnaik was a firm believer in democracy and a socialist at heart, Ansari said he shared Pandit Nehru’s vision of an India steeped in scientific temper and saw technology as the key to solving the country’s myriad problems. He also had a vision for the growth and development of his beloved Odisha. Describing him as a natural entrepreneur, Ansari said Biju Patnaik wanted agrarian feudalism to be dismantled and the industrial revolution to take place.
Addressing the function, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Biju Babu is not only our inspiration but also an idea of continuity. He symbolises for us Odia self-esteem, empowerment and progress.”
Justice Ananga Kumar Patnaik said Biju Babu’s first love was Odisha. Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister for Women and Child Development Usha Devi, several ministers, MPs and MLAs from Odisha were present.