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Bharat Ratna For Biju Babu When?

Bhubaneswar: After the Government of India announced Bharat Ratna for four personalities including three politicians, questions are being raised when the highest civilian award of India will be conferred to legendary leader and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced Bharat Ratna for former Prime Ministers P V Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, and agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan. Earlier, the PM had announced Bharat Ratna for former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani.

However, the Centre has ignored to Odisha’s long standing demand for Bharat Ratna for Biju Babu, who was not a politician but a statesman, feel many in Odisha.

His contribution towards the freedom movement and his role during the second world war have remained an inspiration for generations of people, said BJD Veteran A U Singh Deo. 

Though the BJD MPs have raised the demand in Parliament on several occasions, the Centre is not in a mood to confer Biju Babu with the award. Perhaps, due to political reasons, observed a political analyst.  

In December 2015, the Odisha Legislative Assembly had adopted a resolution seeking “Bharat Ratna” for freedom fighter and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.

Veteran BJD leader and former Rajya Sabha member A U Singh Deo had raised the issue in the Upper House in April 2015.

In March 2021, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik  had asserted that legendary freedom fighter-cum-statesman Biju Patnaik deserves to be conferred on with the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.

While attending a meeting to release a book of Biju Patnaik, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said,  “Biju Babu richly deserves the highest civilian award”. “I strongly recommend that the Government of India should confer Bharat Ratna award on Biju Patnaik for his exemplary service before and after independence,” he added.

Raising the issue in Parliament, Shri Singh Deo said, “Biju Patnaik is one leader, who symbolized courage, patriotism and vision. He loved his state immensely. But his love for the nation was even greater. He single-handedly lifted the prestige and honour of the country.” He said after he raised the issue in Upper House, other members endorsed it. “The entire House agreed with me and it has been recorded in the proceedings,” Shri Singh Deo said.

Biju Patnaik, a proverbial man in and outside the country, is a patriot, famous for his heroic story, and at the same time, he was able to establish himself as a leader of the top political leadership of the country. His contribution to the country is undeniable.

In fact Shri Patnaik was given honorary citizenship in Indonesia and awarded the ‘Bhoomi Putra’, the highest Indonesian award, rarely granted to a foreigner.

In 1995, when Indonesia was celebrating its 50th Independence Day, Biju Patnaik was awarded the highest national award, the Bintang Jasa Utama.