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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Bhubaneswar: People from all walks of life in the State paid rich tributes to legendary leader and one of the chief architects of modern Odisha– Biju Patnaik on his 24th death anniversary on Saturday.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) also observed the  death anniversary of the statesman at the party headquarters in the Capital City in a low key manner while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines.

BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen  Patnaik paid floral tributes to the ‘Tall Man’ on this occasion. Several State ministers, MLAs and party workers also attended the meet and paid homage to the visionary leader. Bhubaneswar BJD performed ‘Tila Tarpana’ for the stalwart at the holy ‘Bindu Sagar’ lake on the occasion.

To commemorate the occasion, Odisha Mo Parivar conducted ‘Jeevan Bindu’ programme by organising blood donation camps in all constituencies and launched an awareness drive for compulsory use of masks and strict adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

“Biju Babu was a visionary leader and a great pioneer in the freedom movement of India. He was determined to make Odisha a ‘Dream State’ in the country. We all Odias pay tributes to him on the occasion of his 24th death anniversary,” said BJD senior leader Sanjay Das Burma.

BJP National Vice President Baijayant Jay Panda also paid rich tributes to the statesman.

“On this day 24 years ago Odisha lost its tallest leader. Biju Patnaik was a proud son of mother India. He was an aviator, freedom fighter, industrialist  and among the foremost national leaders of his era. It was an honour to have known and been mentored by Biju uncle, a close family friend,” tweeted Panda.

OTV’s Affinity To Biju Babu

Odisha Television Limited (OTV) was launched on the day Biju Babu took his last journey to Swargadwar on 18 April, 1997. The ‘Tall Man’ passed away on 17 April at a hospital in New Delhi and his mortal remains reached Odisha on the following day.

The first live telecast of OTV was the final journey of the tallest ‘Son of the Soil’ to Puri amid the pal of gloom that descended over the State as his mortal remains were consigned to flames at Swargadwar.

A Short History Of Biju Babu’s Career and Achievements

Biju Patnaik was undoubtedly a great intellectual, progressive legislator, mass leader, and above all, a great social reformer of Odisha.

The Bhumi Putra

His dare devil exploits as an aviator earned him a reputation few can match. The heroic rescue operation he carried out in far away territories by dodging the booming enemy guns is a part of the popular legend in Indonesia which honoured him with the country’s highest Civilian Award, Bhumi Putra (Son of Soil).

Biju Babu put his life at stake while staging the jaw dropping  rescue of Indonesian Premier Sultan Sjahrir and Vice President Mohammad Hatta, initially to Singapore and then to New Delhi in a civilian aircraft at the peak of Indonesia’s struggle for  freedom.

As A Freedom Fighter

An ace pilot, Biju Babu’s role in India’s freedom struggle was as adventurous as were his exploits in Indonesia. During the Quit India Movement, he had air-dropped leaflets for Indian soldiers fighting against Myanmar as part of the British Indian armed forces. He actively ferried freedom fighters from one place to another during the struggle for independence under dangerous circumstances.

In fact, he was imprisoned for 30 months during the ‘Quit India’ movement for collaborating with underground leaders.

After Independence he landed the first Indian plane in Kashmir in 1947 when a tribal militia prepared by Pakistan attacked the valley.

Politics

He started his career in politics in 1946 and held different posts as a politician. He was elected to the Orissa Legislative Assembly in 1952, 1957, 1961 from Jagannath Prasad, Sorada (Ganjam) and Choudwar(Cuttack) respectively. He was again elected in 1971 and1974 from Rajnagar (Cuttack). He was the Chief Minister of Odisha from 1961-63. He was the Chairman of Planning Board, Government of Orissa from 1971 to 1972 June.

When the Emergency was proclaimed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, Biju Babu, who had by then became a frontline leader of the JP movement, was one of the firsts to be arrested along with some other top-rung Opposition leaders.

He was later elected to the Parliament in 1977 and became a Cabinet Minister of the Central Ministry from 1977 to 1979.

In 1990 under his dynamic leadership, the Janata Dal secured more than three fourth majority of the Orissa Legislative Assembly which is quite unprecedented. He was unanimously elected as the leader of the Janata Dal in Orissa Legislative Assembly and on his birthday he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Orissa on March 5, 1990.

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