BHUBANESWAR: The Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution to recommend the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, on legendary leader and former chief minister Biju Patnaik.
Moving a resolution, Government chief whip Ananta Das said a year-long centenary celebration of Biju Patnaik will be observed both in the State and at the national level beginning from March 5, 2016. Necessary steps will be taken to recommend the Centre for granting Bharat Ratna for the great leader.
The resolution was unanimously adopted as the Opposition Congress and BJP stayed away from the House protesting the suspension of Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das.
Patnaik was born on March 5, 1916 and passed away on April 17, 1997.
Before moving the resolution, the Government chief whip said all 28 members, including eight Ministers who participated in the motion, expressed deep anguish and criticised the Centre for not conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik last year. During the two-day discussion on the motion, all BJD members who participated in the debate urged Speaker Niranjan Pujari that the House pass a resolution to press the Centre for conferring Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik and install his portrait in Parliament.
Describing Biju Babu as the second Konark of Odisha, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak recalled his contribution to the nation during freedom struggle and after independence.
Nayak, who is also Minister for Information and Public Relation, said his department will work out a detailed programme for the centenary year.