Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
Full-throated cries of “Janaki Patnaik Amar Rahe” rent the air as the body of the three-time Odisha Chief Minister landed at the Bjiu Patnaik airport here from Tirupati this afternoon.
Hundreds of his supporters and admirers, including some leading lights of the ruling BJD had gathered at the airport to have a glimpse of the body of the late leader, which arrived in a special VT-DIP aircraft from Tirupati where JB breathed his last in the wee hours today.
Among those present to pay their respect to the departed leader were former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Revenue minister Bijayshree Routray, PCC chief Prasad Harichandan, former PCC chiefs Niranjan Patnaik and Jayadev Jena, senior Congress leader Suresh Rourtray, Taraparasad Bahinipati, Bijaylaxmi Sahu, Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra and family members of JB Patnaik.
The veteran Congress leader was given a guard of honour by the state police after his body, bedecked in flowers and placed in a glass-topped coffin, emerged from the airport lounge.
As the coffin carrying JB was mounted on a 407 truck and left for his residence in Forest Park, cries of “Jab Tak Surak Chand Rahega, Janaki Patnaik Amar Rahega” reverberated in the airport.
The scene was no different at the Forest Park home of JB, where hundreds of admirers had gathered to have a last glimpse of the man who straddled the political scene in the state for over four decades.
Governor SC Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik were among the hundreds of people who reached JB’s residence to pay floral tributes to the veteran leader.
Family sources said JB’s body would be taken to various places in the city, including Raj Bhavan, the state secretariat and the Congress Bhavan tomorrow morning before being taken to his native village of Rameswar in Khurda district.
“On the way to his native place, the people of Begunia would pay him their last respects. From Rameshwar, his body would be taken on the Jagannath Sadk to Puri. The cremation would take place at Swargadwar at around 4 pm,” JB’s son-in-law and Editor of ‘sambad’ Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said.