Politics hots up in State over Biju legacy

Bhubaneswar: Political circles in the State were today abuzz with talks about tributes paid to late Biju Patnaik by none other than prime minister Narendra Modi and a massive celebration organized by senior BJP leader and Rourkela legislator Dilip Ray on the occasion of the 99th birth anniversary of the veteran leader.

Sources said people are not able to digest the fact that despite being a BJP MLA, Ray unveiled a 14-ft statue of the former chief minister at Chend Colony in Rourkela amid a noticeable gathering as part of the celebrations.

Amid much fanfare, Ray mounted on a crane to garland the statue even as his followers danced to high decibel music all through. The whole function was organised by Biju Foundation, set up by Ray himself.

Taking to social media to send his message through, Modi said Biju Patnaik was an “outstanding personality” whose contribution to the State and the country will always be remembered.

“Remembering Biju Babu on his birth anniversary. An outstanding personality, his contribution to Odisha and India will always be remembered,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, former BJD MLA from Rourkela Sarada Naik said, “People are suspicious about Ray unveiling the Biju statue when the BJP legislator has not been able to establish his father’s statue as yet.”

To this, Ray said, “Restricting a person of Biju Patnaik’s stature to a political party is wrong as he was the leader of the whole State.”

Considered as one of the tallest leaders of modern Odisha, Biju Patnaik was born in 1916 and passed away in 1997. A two-time chief minister, he also served as a Union minister in the Morarji Desai government from 1977 to 1980. He is the father of incumbent Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik.