Bhubaneswar: Ruling BJD MLAs and MP today criticised the Centre for not conferring the Bharat Ratna on Biju Patnaik and demanded that the nation’s highest civilian award be given to the former Odisha Chief Minister.
The issue was raised at the Biju Janata Dal’s 17th foundation day function here. “We welcome Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malaviya. But, what was harm in naming another legendary person like Biju Patnaik for the country’s highest civilian award,” asked BJD MP from Bhubaneswar, Prasanna Patsani.
Noting that the national flags of three countries were down during funeral of Biju Patnaik in 1997, Patsani said the legendary leader must be given the Bharat Ratna.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who heads the regional party named after his father, Biju Patnaik, however, did not speak on the subject though other leaders criticised the Centre for not honouring Biju Patnaik.
Tourism Minister and BJD MLA from Ekamra seat Ashok Panda said, “They (the Centre) have not done right thing. They should not ignore the contribution of Biju Babu.”
The BJD MLA suggested the most prestigious civilian award should not get politicised.