Bhubaneswar: BJD president and chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s promise to take the Biju birth centenary celebration to every village across the State has invited sharp criticism from opposition BJP and Congress, who termed it as the beginning of the party’s campaign for the panchayat polls due next year.
Senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra (Lulu) dubbed BJD’s move to celebrate 100 years of Biju’s birthday at village level as an election tactics. He lambasted the regional party leaders for avoiding the ardent Biju lovers and alleged that only BJD leaders were found occupying the seats at the celebration venue.
“I failed to find a single Biju lover, who was part and parcel of the former CM’s life, sitting at the celebration place. Their (BJD) declaration to observe the centenary programme in villages is a mere attempt to bag rural votes”, Mohapatra said.
Echoing similar views, BJP alleged the that ruling party had converted the Biju birth centenary celebrations into its own party affair. “I feel that BJD has celebrated the birth centenary of Biju Babu within the party. I believe injustice has been meted out to the departed soul of a great leader. It has been done only in view of the elections,” senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said.
Interestingly, while addressing a huge gathering during Biju birth centenary celebration at Janata Maidan here, CM Naveen Patnaik said “Irrespective of party lines, the Biju birth centenary is being celebrated everywhere in a grand manner. Biju Babu was the jewel of the Odia community. His 100ths birthday will be celebrated at every village”.
The birth centenary of the legendary leader would be celebrated nationally and internationally for a whole year, he added.
The dream of the legendary freedom fighter to create a developed and resurgent Odisha could only be fulfilled if the youths worked with courage, conviction and dedication, the CM said.
“Biju Babu was the Baraputra of Mother India. He went beyond the limits of regional and national boundaries to international height,” said Patnaik.