Leaders across nation condole JB’s demise

Bhubaneswar: President Pranab Mukherjee today condoled the death of former Odisha chief minister J.B. Patnaik saying the nation has lost an eminent leader whose service will be always remembered.

Mukherjee said as a chief minister, Union minister and governor, Patnaik had made immense contribution for the welfare and development of the people.

In his condolence message to Patnaik’s wife Jayanti, the President said he was saddened to learn about the passing away of Patnaik, a friend and colleague of long years.

“Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey the same to the rest of your family members. I pray to the Almighty to give you and other members of your family the strength to bear this irreparable loss,” he said in the message.

Condoling Patnaik’s demise, prime minister Narendra Modi said he would be remembered as a “pillar of Odisha politics”. “J.B. Patnaik’s contribution to Odisha’s development will always be remembered. Saddened on his demise. Condolences to his family,” Modi said in a statement in New Delhi.

“Patnaik will be remembered as a pillar of Odisha politics, a popular leader always connected with people’s views and aspirations,” he added.

Terming Patnaik as an “institution” in himself, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the leader withstood the test of time in politics. Expressing deep condolence, the chief minister said, “I am deeply distressed at the sad demise of former chief minister, veteran politician and great literary figure Janaki Ballav Patnaik.”

Stating that it is a huge loss to the State, the CM said, “He was a great figure in Odisha politics known for his political acumen and administrative ability, who withstand the test of time in politics.”

While highlighting Patnaik’s profound knowledge in range of subjects like art, culture, tradition and literature, Naveen said the veteran politician was a scholar as well as an acclaimed journalist.

As Union minister and chief minister, J.B. Patnaik immensely contributed to the development of the State, Naveen said, adding that he contributed immensely to the legislature process as the leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly and was always constructive.

“During his tenure as the governor of Assam, J.B. Patnaik played a key role in strengthening cultural ties between Odisha and Assam. He was an institution in himself. What is more significant is that he remained relevant in public life till his last breath,” the chief minister said adding that J.B. Patnaik would be remembered as a multi-faceted personality.

“His death marks the end of an era in Odisha politics. I extend my deep condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace,” Naveen said in a statement here.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi also condoled the death of J.B. Patnaik. In her message from New Delhi, Sonia Gandhi said the late leader spent decades in the service of people and added that the former Odisha chief minister remained a Congressman till the end.

She said that his absence will be felt in the years to come. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones on his demise,” she said.

“Having served as the chief minister of Odisha thrice, a Union minister and as a governor, Patnaik’s public life was spread over decades in service of people. He remained a Congressman till the end and his absence will be felt in the years to come,” she said in her condolence message.

Rahul Gandhi, in his message, said the veteran party leader served the people of the country with dedication. He said he was “deeply saddened” at the passing away of Patnaik.

“Patnaik was a veteran Congress leader, who served the people of this country with dedication, as a three-time chief minister of Odisha, Union minister and later as governor. I extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones on his demise,” he said.

Similarly, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also condoled Patnaik’s death. “Saddened to hear J.B. Patnaik passed away. I knew him well. In my early career, whenever I visited Odisha, he was generous with his time. RIP,” Banerjee posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.