Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
The first death anniversary of three-time Odisha Chief Minister and former Assam Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik was observed across the state today.
Leaders cutting across party lines paid floral tribute to the litterateur, journalist-turned politician at various functions organised across the state.
A 10-feet statue of the tall leader was unveiled by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a programme organised by Janaki Ballabh Memorial Committee in Khurda. Besides, a garden was also inaugurated on this occasion in the evening.
“He was an erudite scholar and an eminent literary figure. He served the country in various capacities and I pay my sincere tribute to him,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on the occasion.
Apart from other dignitaries, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also graced the occasion.
“Janaki Babu is a symbol of Odia pride. His life has been an inspiration for many. I consider myself lucky to have participated in the first death anniversary of the leader,” Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
“We are all influenced by Janaki Babu’s vision of the development of all sections in Odisha,” senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said.
Earlier in the day, a programme was organised by Cuttack City unit Congress where leaders paid glowing tributes to the departed leader.
According to reports, Janaki Ballabh Memorial Committee organised a remembrance programme in Jajpur on the banks of river Baitarani. This apart, programmes in Athagarh, Rayagada and other parts of the state were also organised today.
It may be recalled that Patnaik passed away had arrived at Sai Venkateswar Institute of Medical Sciences in Tirupati last year. He was admitted to the private hospital after complaint of chest pain.
He was in Tirputati to attend the convocation of Tirupati Rashtriya Sanskruta University, of which he was the Chancellor, as the chief guest.
Born on January 3, 1927 at Rameswar village in Khurda district, Patnaik was the Chief Minister of Odisha for two consecutive terms from 1980 to 1989 and then again from 1995 to 1999.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1971 and became a union minister in the Indira Gandhi government. He was the minister for Civil Aviation when he was chosen by Indira to become Chief Minister of Odisha in 1980.
He was appointed the Governor of Assam in 2009 and was among the few Governors appointed by the UPA government, who were allowed to complete their full term by the NDA government led by Narendra Modi government.
Besides his political career, JB was also an eminent litterateur and won many literary awards. He won the Central Sahitya Akademi for his Odia translation of Bankim Chandra’s novels titled ‘Bankim Chandra Upanyasmala’ in 2001 and the Odisha Sahitya Akademi award for his book ‘Bairagya Shataka’, a translation of Bhartruhari’s celebrated Sanskrit work, in 1996.
He also translated the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Shrimad Bhagabat Gita into Odia, all of which were highly acclaimed works. His other works were Sindhu Upatyaka and Gautam Buddha.