Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 12:
Coming down heavily on BJP Prime Minister candidate Narendra Modi for dragging the name of Biju Patnaik in his speech at the Vijay Sankalp Samavesh yesterday, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today said the legendary Odia leader was not made the defence minister of the country due to stiff opposition from leaders of the undivided state of Maharashtra, which included present day Gujarat at the time, though Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was keen on the appointment.
“Nehru wanted to make Biju Babu the defence minister in 1962. But the move was stalled by leaders from Gujarat and Maharashtra,” Odisha Health minister and BJD vice president Damodar Rou said today.
“What was Modi doing then?” Rout asked adding that the BJP leader was probably busy with RSS activities somewhere in Gujarat.
Rout was speaking in the Assembly about Modi’s address at the BJP rally here yesterday in which the Gujarat Chief Minister had said Biju Patnaik must be pained to see the present situation in Odisha. “The most appropriate tribute to Biju Babu would be to make Odisha a developed state,” the BJP leader had said.
Rout also hit out at Modi’s remarks about people from Odisha working in Gujarat to earn their livelihood and said many Gujaratis also move out and eke out their living in Dubai and different countries.
Expressing concern over the poverty and backwardness of Odisha, Modi in his speech had drawn a parallel between him and Naveen Patnaik.
“I have also completed 14 years as the Chief Minister of Gujarat like your CM in Odisha. In these 14 years, we made Gujarat so strong that people from all over the country, including every district in your state, go there in search of jobs,” Modi had said while hitting out at Patnaik.