Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Paradip, Mar 5:
Away from the party’s official function, BJD Vice President and Excise Minister Damodar Rout today went ahead with the Biju birth centenary celebrations in Odisha’s Paradip.
The event started with Rout garlanding the Biju Patnaik statue. Later, a documentary movie was released and a photo exhibition was held among other programmes in his memory.
As planned earlier, Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra, senior BJP leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan, former Speaker Sarat Kar, CPI-M leader Shivaji Patnaik among others joined the public meeting organised by Rout’s Biju Memorial Trust in the afternoon.
Speaking to reporters, Rout ruled out any political angle to the event.
“We celebrated Biju Babu’s birth anniversary here like every year. Just because it is the centenary celebrations, we have added few things as decided in last year’s function. Today, we laid the foundation stone of a Biju Minar in his memory and plan to build a park to etch him in our memory forever. Besides, the public meeting this year hosted speakers cutting across party lines as we believe Biju Babu was above party lines. Rest other programmes like public meeting, tree plantation, fruit distribution etc are nothing new,” said Rout.
Notably, BJD leaders including Vice President Bed Prakash Agrawal and Spokesperson Pratap Deb earlier refused to associate with Rout’s programme and called it a “private function” as we reported here.
Interestingly, another senior leader Baijayant Panda, who was speculated to have been intentionally dropped from the Biju Centenary Committee celebrated the late leader’s birthday away from party function in a simple event organised at Constitution Club of India in New Delhi.