Bhubaneswar: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee along with other senior political leaders unveiled a pictorial biography of legendary political leader and former Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik on his birth centenary celebration at Utkal Mandap here on Saturday.
The pictorial biography of the legendary statesman was jointly released by Mukherjee and a galaxy of bigwig politicians including Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, former Deputy Prime Minister-cum-BJP veteran L.K. Advani and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Biju Patnaik was a true nationalist and a legend. He dreamt big. “Whenever I come to the land of Lord Jagannath, I fondly remember him,” said former President Pranab Mukherjee unveiling a book titled ‘The Tall Man Biju Patnaik’, written by Sundar Ganeshan, at a function organised by the Biju Patnaik Birth Centenary Committee here on Saturday.
Mukherjee said, “When I received the invitation from the Chief Minister for release of the book, I was little apprehensive. A short man like me to unveil a book on the tall man! Because of the largeness of his (Biju Patnaik’s) heart, I came closer to him. I pay my homage to him,’ he said.
“I congratulate the author for the old pictures he has collected and the pains he took to collect the information which is unknown,” Mukherjee added.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda said Biju Patnaik was known to do impossible things. He was a kingmaker, a visionary and a very good administrator. He made the Chief Minister of Karnataka and the Prime Minister of the country. He brought the administration to the doorsteps of the people. Though a towering personality, he thought for the downtrodden people.
Gowda said the Government of India should confer the Bharat Ratna on Bijubabu, which he greatly deserves.
Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani said, “I have gone to many book unveiling ceremonies but never seen a better book unveiling ceremony like this one. I have never felt so satisfied and proud. I congratulate those who thought of this book for the legendary leader.”
CPI(M) secretary general Sitaram Yechury said, “We have grown up hearing the great deeds of Bijubabu. His mission was to restore the glory of Kalinga. He wanted a modern India with secular credentials. Naveen Patnaik is carrying on his legacy forward wonderfully.”
Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra, senior BJP leaders Bijoy Mohapatra, Biswabhusan Harichandan and former BJD vice president Prafulla Ghadei also attended the event.
Full text of CM Naveen Patnaik’s speech at the function below:
Cutting across party lines, regions, ideologies and age groups – what brings us together this evening is the love and respect we have for Biju Babu.
In my view Biju Babu is an idea in continuity, an idea of realizing the breadth of human aspirations, an idea of Odia self-esteem, selfless service and empowerment.
An idea that was much ahead of his times – that will forever and continues to inspire generations to come.
To capture ‘The Tall Man’ in 180 pages is nearly impossible. Thank you Mr. Sundar – you have done a great job. I thank future books for making “The Tall Man” available across the globe through Amazon and Flipkart.
Biju Babu transcends the ordinary boundaries of definitions. Only a friend and a critic could have done a review of this book. Thank you Mr Prabhu Chawla.
This book is a commemoration and a tribute. Just seeing all his distinguished friends under one roof, I am sure would have gladdened the heart of the tall man himself.
Thank you Shri Sitaram Yechury ji,
Respected Advani ji and Biju Babu have been close associates for a long time and I am touched by his gracious presence and kind words this evening.
Thank you Shri Advani ji for being here.
Biju Babu and Shi Deve Gowda shared a special relationship. In fact, I still remember the kind words that Shri Deve Gowda ji spoke about Biju Babu in the Bangalore function.
Thank you Shri Pranab Mukherjee ji for your gracious presence and warm words. Your personal friendship with Biju Babu was exemplary.
All our honoured guests today have spoken of how dear and personal journeys have been with my father. It is this love and respect that we all seek in the end. And Biju Babu has been blessed with it bountifully.
The proceeds of this book will be used for humanitarian causes.
I thank the Biju Patnaik Birth Centenary Committee who have worked day and night to put this memorable evening together and making it truly apolitical. It is an emotional moment for me. The love and affection all of you have for Biju Babu has made feel the presence of my dear father today.
Thank you everyone.
Bande Utkala Janani.