CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa took a walk down memory lane on Friday, recalling her ties with former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. She said she shared the same kind of bond with his son Naveen Patnaik who is like a brother to her.
Sharing the dais with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the 76th Utkal Divas Samaroha, Jayalalithaa said that she had the privilege of hosting him three times when both were chief ministers.
“I am happy today to host Naveen Patnaik, the illustrious son of an illustrious father. Biju Patnaik was a father figure to me who left behind a legacy of respect, co-operation and mutual affection that continues in the bond I share with his son Naveen Patnaik,” she said. The chief minister, who with her counterpart from Odisha, unveiled the foundation stone for Odisha Bhavan in Chennai, vowed that her government would do everything to expedite the construction of the building on five grounds of land in Velachery.
“I hope it is completed very soon and I hope that Naveen Patnaik will make another visit to Chennai and give me the opportunity of hosting him again, when he comes to inaugurate the Odisha Bhavan,” the Chief Minister said. The camaraderie between the two chief ministers was evident when Navin Patnaik hailed the various schemes initiated by Jayalalithaa — the cradle scheme for girl children, bringing about a digital revolution in the State by giving out free laptops, providing mangalsutras for poor brides and pro-poor rice scheme. “She is an able and excellent administrator,” he said. Jayalalithaa thanked Naveen Patnaik for appreciating her work.
Later speaking to the media after meeting Jayalalithaa at her residence, Naveen Patnaik said she was a long standing family friend. “She was like a daughter to my late father. Therefore, she is my younger sister,” he said.