Senior BJD leader AU Singhdeo has requested the centre to confer the India’s highest civilian honour, ‘Bharat Ratna’ on late Biju Patnaik. The mater was raised by AU during the Zero Hours yesterday. All BJD and JD(U) MPs supported the move in one voice.
In total, 23 Rajya Sabha MPs gave their support to AU Singhdeo’s request. Congress MPs Ghulam Nabi Azad, Renuka Choudhury, Jairam Ramesh, Kumari Selja, Motilal Vohra, PL Punia also supported the demand. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adopted the motion, saying the House is unanimous on this decision.
AU Singheo argued that the late Odisha CM deserves this prestigious award for his immense contribution to the nation during the freedom struggle. He also drew attention of the House towards Biju Babu’s daring act in Indonesia when he rescued then PM Sjahrir on the orders of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Biju Patnaik and his wife flew to Java and brought Sultan Sjahrir out on a Dakota reaching India via Singapore on 24 July 1947. For this act of bravery, Patnaik was given honorary citizenship in Indonesia and awarded the ‘Bhoomi Putra’, the highest Indonesian award, rarely granted to a foreigner.
AU also listed Biju Patnaik’s contribution in the social, political and economical sphere of the country.
It would be interesting to see whether the Modi government will consider this request or not. It would be a fitting reply to Biju Patnaik, if Bharat Ratna can be conferred on him before his birth centenary on March 5, 2016.