Bhubaneswar: Iron lady and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa (popularly known as Amma), who passed away in Apollo Hospital in Chennai last night, had a deep affinity with former Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik and his family.
The two families had shared their happiness and grief since last three decades and taken equal stand on major issues of national politics.
Jaya had immense respect for Biju Patnaik and she used to address him as Papa (father) and his son (Naveen) as her brother. Such was the emotional attachment that the former Odisha chief minister had offered his helping hand to Jaya when she was in distress.
Her immense affection towards Naveen Patnaik became more prominent when the latter had gone to Chennai on May 11, 2012 to attend the Utkal Divas Samaroh where she wore him a shawl and offered a flower bouquet.
Apart from the close family relations, both Jaya and Naveen were unanimous in their opinion on major political issues at the national level like NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Centre) and proposing former Lok Sabha Speaker and former Meghalaya chief minister PA Sangma as the Presidential candidate.
On NCTC issue, Naveen, Jaya and BJP leader and present Prime Minister Narendra Modi had joined their hands against the Congress led UPA government at the Centre while Naveen had strongly demanded formation of a sub-committee to be headed by Jaya.
Jaya had the last meeting with Naveen when the latter had gone to Chennai to lay the foundation stone of Odisha Bhawan. Speaking at a function, she had said she hopes that the Odisha chief minister will invite her again to the inauguration of the Odisha Bhawan.
“When I was working as the political secretary of Biju Babu, I used to open the letter Jaya in which she used to address him as ‘My dear Papa’. She used to share her personal problem or political issue with Biju Babu and seek his advice for solution,” BJD leader and former minister Debasis Nayak said.
Senior BJP leader KV Singhdeo said due to Jaya’s close relationship with Biju Babu, the latter had helped her on many occasions. As a token of gratitude, she was always eager to offer all assistance to Odisha.
“The Tamil Nadu chief minister had a close political relationship with the BJD. She was the first chief minister who had endorsed the proposal of the Odisha chief minister to support PA Sangma as the Presidential candidate saying that she is supporting Sangma’s candidature only due to Biju Babu and Naveen Patnaik,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.